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Cam Newton Presents Unique Challenge to 49ers

Posted Nov 7, 2013

The Panthers quarterback's dual-threat ability is a concern to San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio entering Sunday's matchup.


The 49ers have scored 30-plus points in five straight wins. The Carolina Panthers have scored 30 or more points in four straight wins.

One common denominator: strong quarterback play.

Compare San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick and Carolina’s Cam Newton all you want. Jim Harbaugh and Kaepernick noted the similarities this week. Newton even complimented his counterpart.

READ: Kaepernick, Newton 'Plutoniam-Grade' Talent

Vic Fangio sees the juxtaposition too, but he’s more interested in putting the information to use. There’s no doubt that the 49ers success against Newton – the passer and the rusher – could make or break their chances against the Panthers come Sunday at Candlestick Park.

“They’ll run him more, a little bit more on quarterback called runs than we do with Colin where he’s actually like a tailback out of the gun,” the defensive coordinator said Thursday. “They’ve got a commitment to the run just like we do.

“Like always, when you play these types of quarterbacks, they’re tough because you have to defend the play they’re running and then you have to all of a sudden defend the second play because he’s scrambling and buying time and creating. So it puts a lot of stress on the defense, particularly in the pass-rush and then it puts it on the coverage because there’s that time clock in a lot of people’s heads and this guy still has the ball and he’s moving around, much like Colin does and (Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell) Wilson does that it makes it tough.” 

In addition to his 251 rushing yards this season, Newton has completed nearly 65 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions through eight games.

“His ball comes out,” Fangio said with a rise of eyebrows. “And there’s no issue with his release or arm strength.”