Bucs' Gerald McCoy on Cam Newton: 'That dude really might be Superman'

"He's 6-6, 260 or whatever he is, runs almost as fast as the fastest dude on the field. ... I don't think it's legal for him to be playing in the league," Gerald McCoy also said about Cam Newton. AP Photo/Chuck Burton

TAMPA, Fla. -- Cam Newton was absent in both games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. On Sunday, the Bucs' defense will receive an up-close reminder why Newton can be one of the NFL's most exciting talents to watch.

"That dude really might be Superman," Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said Thursday of the Carolina Panthers quarterback. "I saw him his rookie year — he flew in the end zone three times against us. And then I just saw him do an Olympic flip [against the Houston Texans in Week 2]. Basically, he's landing on both feet. That's why I say people like that are mutants. He shouldn't be able to do that. He's 6-6, 260 or whatever he is, runs almost as fast as the fastest dude on the field. He's doing that?

"I don't think it's legal for him to be playing in the league. That's not fair."

Fair or not, the Bucs must try to limit Newton's potent dual-threat skill set in Week 4. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound quarterback hasn't played Tampa Bay since throwing for 263 yards and running for 68 in a victory over the Bucs in Week 13 of the 2013 campaign. He didn't appear in the two games between the teams last year, both Carolina victories; he had a rib injury in Week 1 and was recovering from a car accident in Week 15.

"Unfortunately, he got hurt," Bucs linebacker Lavonte David said, referring to Newton's absences last season. "But we'll see how their offense is now. It changed up a bit. They use him in the run game. He has a strong arm. They already have a decent running game. He can hurt us in different ways, so he's going to pose a big threat for us. But we've got to be prepared for it."

There's plenty to keep Tampa Bay's defense busy. Carolina ranks sixth in the NFL in rushing by averaging 132 yards per game. Newton has posted 144 yards on the ground this season, a total that ranks second on his team behind running back Jonathan Stewart's 170. Newton has also completed 56 of 99 passes for 685 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions.

What does Newton think of facing a Bucs defense led by coach Lovie Smith for the first time? He's giving the proper respect.

"It's a team that is going to be coached extremely well, and guys are going to give unbelievable effort," Newton said. "We just have to control the line of scrimmage and see where that gets us."

If all goes well for Newton, that could provide him a few more highlight-reel moments to remember.