Even if Cam Newton didn’t see Falcons linebacker Deion Jones coming, we’ve seen plays like this out of the Panthers quarterback before.
The hit resulted in a concussion yesterday, which throws the MVP’s status for this week’s game against the Buccaneers into question. But his backup quarterback acknowledged that perhaps the hit could have been avoided if Newton had taken perhaps a more urgent approach to the goal line.
“I think we all saw it,” Anderson said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “Maybe he could have avoided it, but I don’t think he saw the guy, so that’s neither here nor there.”
It was similar to a hit he took last year in New Orleans when linebacker Michael Mauti drilled Newton in the skull as he coasted into the end zone.
“I deserved to get hit like that, taking that foot off the gas,” Newton said after that game. “I was so shocked. The guy just came out of nowhere it felt like. But it won’t happen again, any time I get an opportunity to score.
“There was probably a lot of people that wanted to see that happen. I’m going to talk to my father tonight, and he’s probably going to tell me what I already expect: I deserved it.”
While that’s debatable, especially after the parade of hits to the head he took in Denver (though this one wasn’t illegal), Newton absolutely needs to start taking better care of himself in such situations. And perhaps coach Ron Rivera, who has bristled about questions regarding the league’s concussion protocol and whether it was followed after the opener, should lighten up.
“I don’t know the status,” Rivera said during his postgame press conference, before it was announced to the media Newton had a concussion. “I only know they took him in to examine him. I purposefully didn’t ask because I didn’t want to have to answer the questions.”
Psst, Ron, buddy, there are more questions coming in the coming days. Specifically, whether your star quarterback is going to be able to play this week, and whether he knows how to protect himself.