Bengals at Panthers Behind Enemy Lines: Can Cam Newton continue his dominance?


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 The Bengals are gearing up for a clash of cats when the Panthers host Cincinnati this Sunday. Carolina is (1-1) coming of a crushing loss to the Falcons. They look pretty beat up on paper Cheap Geno Atkins Jersey , but that is no reason to doubt a team led by Cam Newton at quarterback.We caught up with Walker Clement of Cat Scratch Reader, SB Nation’s Panthers website, to get his perspective of the Bengals vs. Panthers game.Patrick Judis: Cam Newton has been carrying the offense so far this season. He is not only the leader in passing yards, but he leads Carolina in rushing yards and is tied for the most rushing attempts. Is that something you think will continue?Walker Clement: I am very confident that Newton will continue to lead the team in passing yards. Whether or not he leads the Panthers in rushing will depend on the game. New offensive coordinator Norv Turner is obviously not afraid to let Cam use his legs, but he is also enamored with the speed and shiftiness that Christian McCaffrey brings to the table. The running back had 102 yards receiving on 14 catches last week. You can expect one of those two guys to be the offensive MVP every week. Turner is slowly figuring out how to use both talents to their best advantage, good luck if he strikes the right balance against the Bengals.PJ: Defensively the Panthers did a pretty good job at containing Julio Jones. What were some thing they did to accomplish that, and do you think they can replicate it with A.J. Green?WC: They can replicate the process, but I’m not familiar enough with Green’s skillset to guarantee that they can replicate the success. The majority of the Falcons game saw Jones being shadowed by the Panthers’ top corner, James Bradberry. Years past saw Bradberry stick to one side of the field and the Falcons would move Jones around and torch the Panthers by exploiting mismatches. Of course, years past also saw the Panthers have an otherwise stifling defense. Their absence was the reason for the Panthers close loss.PJ: As far as the Panthers’ pass-catchers go, they don’t have many big names after Greg Olsen’s injury. Who are some of the most dangerous guys in the passing game that Bengals’ fans should be worried about?WC: First round pick D.J. Moore had a bit of a coming out party last week Youth Bobby Hart Jersey , turning his first catch into a 51 yard touchdown. The Panthers have made a lot of noise this week about wanting to get him more involved in the game plan, even though he still looks like a rookie on a lot of plays. Your real threat, as mentioned above, is Christian McCaffrey. He is too fast for linebackers, too physical for your average corner, and the Panthers love to target him. They are the threats.The Panthers have a roster of semi-reliable role players after those two. I say semi-reliable because Devin Funchess, Torrey Smith, and Jarius Wright can be generally relied upon to be in the right place on a given play. It is a bit of a toss up, so to speak, as to whether or not they will catch a ball that hits them in their hands. If you’re looking for a guy to get open right at the sticks on a third down then Wright seems to be the guy for now.PJ: The Panthers are dealing with some injuries along their offensive line. What do you think they will do to try and protect Newton on Sunday?WC: Our best guess is that last week they performed some sort of blood sacrifice or other dark magic ritual. The Panthers signed their starting left tackle off the street — he hadn’t been on an NFL practice field since last November — on the Wednesday prior to the game. Their right tackle spent training camp as their left guard and was the left tackle for Week 1. Their top right guard missed the game with a concussion. The Panthers surrendered only two sacks and forced the Falcons to blitz to pressure Newton.PJ: What is your prediction for the game?WC: If the Panthers run out of livestock, virgins Youth Jordan Evans Jersey , or first born children to ensure the success of their line, then this game could get ugly for Carolina very quickly. Since they are at home, however, I’m assuming they can drag somebody out of the crowd. The Panthers lost last week because their defense had one of the more off weeks that we have seen since Ron Rivera took over the team in 2011. Meanwhile, the offense is actually starting to look more coherent and consistent than it has ever been under Newton. I have some faith in the offense’s continued improvement and in the defense’s return to form. I’ll take the Panthers by a touchdown, 20-13.Thanks again to Walker Clement for taking out the time to answer our questions. You can check out more of his stuff at Cat Scratch Reader. AJ McCarron couldn’t help notice the number of draft-eligible quarterback prospects the Buffalo Bills have paraded through their facility in recent days.UCLA’s Josh Allen was in town Monday. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield visited last week.McCarron, on Tuesday, acknowledged he stopped to chat with some of the former college players to see how they’re holding up through the pre-draft process.And yet, their presence — and the possibility of Buffalo selecting one of them in the first round of the draft next week — won’t distract McCarron from focusing on the reason he signed with the Bills in free agency last month after spending his first four NFL seasons backing up Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.The Bills have an opening for a starter after trading Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland this offseason, and it’s McCarron’s objective to fill the job.”As quarterback, you’ve got to have that confidence and you’ve got to take that approach to it , because if you don’t, you’re already a step behind,” McCarron said after completing the second day of Buffalo’s voluntary offseason conditioning program.He’s started bonding with his new teammates over dinner, by exchanging texts and is already making plans to spend time working out together before the start of training camp.”That’s the way I’ve always done it,” McCarron said. “I mean, even in Cincy, I knew how to do it and not step on AD’s (Andy Dalton’s) toes.”And forget about him paying attention to what the Bills do in the draft with their nine selections, including two first-rounders at No. 12 and 22.”I can’t worry about it because it creates mental clutter for myself,” McCarron said. “So for me to worry about ifs and what could happen, it’s just not part of my DNA. I’ve never been that way and won’t ever do it.”General manager Brandon Beane has provided no hints regarding his draft plans. Beane said a GM’s primary responsibility is finding a franchise quarterback. And yet, Beane would also consider this year’s draft a success should the Bills not select a quarterback.McCarron and Nathan Peterman are the only two quarterbacks on the roster , with both having very limited NFL experience.A two-time national champion at Alabama, McCarron appeared in just 11 games with Cincinnati, mostly in mop-up duties. He started four games, including an 18-16 loss to Pittsburgh in a 2016 AFC wild-card playoff in which the Bengals squandered a one-point lead in the final seconds as a result of a turnover and two penalties.Peterman proved he wasn’t ready to be a starter as a rookie last season. The fifth-round pick out of Pittsburgh was yanked after throwing five interceptions in the first half of his first career start in a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers in November.Peterman also threw an interception in the final minutes of a 10-3 loss to Jacksonville in an AFC wild-card playoff after Taylor sustained a concussion.Peterman said he’s focused on looking forward after spending the first month of the offseason assessing his rookie season.”The first thing, you’ve got to actually look at what happened and take it all in, feel the pain of those losses and all the mistakes that you made, but also the good things that you did as well,” Peterman said. “I was able to do that and able to really press that reset button and look ahead.”He also spent time working on his mechanics at the 3DQB quarterback training facility in southern California.Much like McCarron, Peterman isn’t worried whether the Bills draft a quarterback.”It’s all above my head,” Peterman said. “You can’t be focused on the things you can’t control because it wouldn’t be very productive.”NOTES: DE Cap Capi was released Tuesday. He appeared in five games with Buffalo after being promoted from the practice squad last season. … RB Fred Jackson will sign a one-day contract on Wednesday to retire as a member of the Bills. He played eight seasons in Buffalo and has been out of football since completing the 2015 season in Seattle.
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