Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Panthers try to keep Newton on short leash

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THE Panthers are clearly trying to limit quarterback Cam Newton's carries this season.

Newton is on pace to carry the ball 93 times for 489 yards and six touchdown this season. That's still better than most quarterbacks, but well below his totals from the first two seasons.

As a rookie in 2011, Newton carried 127 times for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns, the most by an NFL quarterback. Last season, he ran 126 times for 741 yards and eight TDs.

St. Louis Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis, who'll face Newton today in Charlotte, N.C., is thrilled Newton's role in the running game has been reduced. While Laurinaitis has proven he's not afraid of anyone, he admits that tackling Newton can be an imposing task.

"It's like hitting a tight end," Laurinaitis said. "I haven't really had a chance to play a quarterback of his size yet, so it will be definitely a new experience for me. His body type is like an athletic tight end. Speed-wise and stuff like that, it's going to be different."

Pondering the future

AFTER taking Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft and giving him 29 starts, the Vikings have moved on.

Ponder, who will back up recent acquisition Josh Freeman at quarterback on Monday night against the New York Giants, is 12-17 as a starter, with 39 turnovers (30 interceptions and nine lost fumbles), 33 touchdown passes and four touchdowns rushing on his career ledger.

When Ponder was passed over for Matt Cassel for the starting spot last week, he said he'd have a hard time embracing a trade. With the NFL deadline looming on Oct. 29, Ponder was asked again how he would feel about being dealt. This time, he changed his tone.

"I don't know," Ponder said. "I have to figure out what's best for me and everything and for this team. I don't know if that's staying here or going somewhere else."

Ponder's contract runs through the 2014 season, when he would carry a salary cap hit of more than $3.2 million.

Spreading it around

WHILE LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson get most of the touches for the Philadelphia Eagles, coach Chip Kelly makes sure the ball gets spread around.

Nine Eagles have scored touchdowns so far, and the team is averaging 27.7 points per game.

"Everything we do is dictated on what is the defence presenting to us and what's our plan to attack," Kelly said. "We like to say we are an equal-opportunity scoring offence. We don't care if we run it in. We don't care if we throw it in. It's just about generating points."

Along the way, they're gaining a ton of yards.

The Eagles are just the second team in NFL history to accumulate at least 1,500 yards passing and 1,050 yards rushing through the first six games of the season (1954 Rams had 1,612 passing, 1,136 rushing).

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 20, 2013 B12

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