CHARLOTTE – After rushing for a season-high 44 yards and a touchdown during the win over the Patriots, quarterback Cam Newton's running ability is (once again) the major topic of discussion.
This has been pointed out already, but it bears repeating: Newton had six designed runs for 39 yards in the second half against New England. He entered the second half with a total of five called runs for 10 yards for the season.
"I'm just doing whatever play is called and whatever the defense dictates," Newton said at his weekly press conference. "Whatever Coach calls, I am going to try to do it to the best of my ability."
That's Newton's typical refrain on the subject, but you may recall what he said about his running ability in training camp.
"That's my edge. You going to expect a lion not to roar?" Newton asked back in August. "The thing that puts me at advantage most times is having that ability to run."
Well, the lion roared last Sunday in Foxborough, and now everyone wants to know if that will continue – against the Lions of all teams this week.
"I'm just trying to win – any way possible," said Newton, who will be the first mobile quarterback Detroit has faced this season. "So you'll see a little splash of me blocking if they ask me to block. Or catching – wink, wink. I'm just trying to be whatever this team needs me to be."
This team needs Newton at his best, and everyone knows the Carolina offense is more difficult to defend when their quarterback is operating as a true dual threat.
"People talk down about athletic quarterbacks, but you ask the un-athletic quarterbacks if they could run, just like the athletic quarterbacks that can't throw. Which one would you take?" Newton said. "It keeps an extra thing in the defender's mind that he has to worry about."
The designed runs are an added dimension, and they're additional opportunities for Newton to energize himself and his huddle.
"The celebratory acts after the slide, man, that's all momentum," Newton said. "Hopefully I will – and this team will – put ourselves in the best situation that we have a lot to celebrate come Sunday."