Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bombs Away in CAR: Musings on Cam Newton and co.

As I am writing up the Carolina training camp report for Week Two of preseason (find Footballguys.com's comprehensive review of the training camps Week One HERE), I am noticing that Coach Rivera is reveling in how well the Panthers threw the deep ball against Buffalo:

"We got the ball vertical. When we do that we give ourselves a chance, and that's big. And the protection was there. I really like what the offensive line did. This was a good defensive front and I was very pleased to see what our guys did."

There were several deep throws during the game - Devin Funchess caught two passes from Derek Anderson (2/54/0) with the long going for 34 yards. Ted Ginn Jr. had a 38-yard reception. Reserve running back Brandon Wegher had 1/42/1 receiving, and reserve wide receiver Marcus Lucas (two targets for 2/36/0 receiving, with a long of 29) also pulled in a long throw.

If this trend continues into regular season, Cam Newton/Kelvin Benjamin (3/36/1 receiving, with a long of 19 yards on Friday night) will be explosive fantasy options. Though long throws are lower-percentage throws (thus Benjamin may not get as many .5 points per reception as other  #1 starting wide receivers), they can stack up stats in a hurry in the yardage and TD department.

Given Newton's new mega-contract ($118 million, $60 million guaranteed), the team is likely going to prefer he throw the ball and save the wear-and-tear on his body from running often. We'll see how the game script runs in the upcoming contests, but I noted that Newton had zero carries during his quarter + of action at Buffalo. The deep throws and the lack of runs on Newton's part are items worth watching in upcoming preseason action.

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