There are doubtless many technical subtleties to the Eagles game-plan for slowing down Cam Newton this week.
But at its core, Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox said the plan was simple.
“Get him uncomfortable,” Cox said, via Ed Kracz of the Burlington County Times. “Hit him, hit him, hit him, hit him, hit him, even when they run the ball, hit him. I think that will shake him up a bit, make him frustrated and that’s when all quarterbacks start doing crazy things.”
It worked a year ago, when the Eagles sacked Newton nine times and picked him off three times in a dominating performance. But Newton’s playing with a different confidence so far this year, is healthier and has better protection.
He also doesn’t shy away from contact, putting his linebacker-sized frame to good use when he’s outside the pocket. And they’re clearly comfortable with him running it, as the Panthers lead the league in rush attempts.
That creates more opportunities for him to get hit, which is exactly what the Eagles are looking for.