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Carolina Panthers

Newton feeling good, playing better

CHARLOTTE – Cam Newton doesn't like talking about the past. And the most recent memory of this week's opponent – the Philadelphia Eagles – isn't an enjoyable one.

The Week 10 game in Philadelphia last year got away from Carolina in a hurry. It ended 45-21, and Newton was sacked nine times. He rushed just twice for six yards and threw four interceptions.

"It was a lack of execution on all fronts," Newton recalled.

But a lot of things change in a year. Chief among them for Carolina's quarterback is his health.

"We faced a different Cam," Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said. "Cam had an ankle injury last year. He looks like he is very healthy this year, so I think the game will express itself in a different manner."

When Newton watched film of last year's loss to Kelly's Eagles, he was struck by what he saw from No. 1 in white.

"It's weird to watch film from the teams we played last year and see me gimping and limping around," Newton said. "It's a remembrance of how far I've come health-wise."

By the end of the 2014 season, Newton's list of injuries was quite long. His surgically repaired ankle limited him throughout the campaign.

"Toe, ankle, rib, wisdom teeth, back, thumb, wrist," Newton said. "It was everything. But through it all, I still found ways.

"(The ankle) wasn't going to be 100 percent until we got time off. It wasn't 100 percent, but you still could play on it. That's the nature of the beast."

He was never about to make an excuse during the painful weeks he endured, but it's interesting to hear him remember those struggles.

Back then, Newton was putting all of his physical and mental strength toward recuperating in time to play each Sunday.

"Now, it's different," he said. "I can focus on different things."

Feel good. Play good. A healthy Newton has been thriving in 2015, and he's as dangerous as ever with his feet.

"It puts a smile on my face knowing that I'm better and I'm capable of doing more," Newton said.

But that's enough time spent looking back. It's time to press forward to work on keeping an undefeated record intact.

Said Newton: "I'm focused on trying to sustain what we've got going."

View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game versus the Eagles.

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