NFL Preview: Redskins next for Cam, Panthers
CHARLOTTE ó Cam Newton stood behind a podium bristling at the notion the Carolina Panthers have three straight ěwinnable gamesî coming up at home, beginning today against the Washington Redskins and new starting quarterback John Beck.
The rookie doesnít think that way.
He believes the Panthers have a chance to win every game and recent history suggests heís right.
The Panthers are 1-5, but theyíve been in every game this year in the fourth quarter. In fact, theyíve lost their last three games after leading in the final period. Four of their five defeats have come against 2010 playoff teams with a combined record of 16-8 this season.
Carolinaís next three games are at home against teams that didnít make the playoffs last season ó Washington, Minnesota and Tennessee ó and all are seemingly winnable, giving the Panthers a chance to make a move before a tough closing schedule.
Just donít tell that to Newton.
ěI donít like that statement,î he said. ěYou canít just sit up here and say this is a winnable game because if thatís the case I have that mentality every game. I think every game is winnable. The more people (on this team) find that out and start playing with that swagger, start having that mentality that look, I donít care who play we play weíre going to (win), especially at Bank of America Stadium.î
Newton envisions the Panthers creating a home-field advantage that rivals any in the league.
But he knows that wonít be easy.
The Panthers are 3-19 in their last 22 games and fans are growing restless. Newton said thereís only one way to bring the enthusiasm back.
ěIím new to this, but Iíve gone into stadiums where people are saying, ëOh man, itís going to be loud or itís going to be this or that.í Well, that is what I envision for this particular city,î Newton said. ěItís nothing that is far from reach. But the number one thing is you have to win.î
The Panthers have been decent at home, beating Jacksonville and taking Green Bay and New Orleans to the wire.
However, the Redskins, who are well supported in the Charlotte area, might feel like this is a home game for them as well. Theyíre 3-1 in Charlotte and 7-2 overall against the Panthers.
But if the Redskins (3-2) hope to continue their dominance of the Panthers and keep pace with the New York Giants (4-2) in the NFC East theyíll need a big effort from Beck, who hasnít started a game in nearly four years and is 0-4 lifetime as a starter. Beckís last start came on Dec. 9, 2007, with the Miami Dolphins. He replaces Rex Grossman, who was benched after throwing four interceptions in a 20-13 loss last week to Philadelphia.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he felt like Beck gave the Redskins a spark in the fourth quarter of last weekís loss. Beck is looking to bring some life to an offense that has averaged only 15.3 points in the past three games and committed eight turnovers.
ěI thought John did a good job with three of our starters out in the fourth quarter against Philadelphia,î Shanahan said. ěTo come in a situation when they knew we had to throw the football ó he had nine first downs. He took us down the field, a 75-yard drive for the touchdown. He impressed with that. (We) put a lot of pressure on him in that situation.î
Also today, it’s Indnapolis at Tennessee, Green Bay at Minnesota, Atlanta at Detroit, Chicago vs. Tampa Bay at London, Denver at Miami, Kansas City at Oakland, San Diego at the New York Jets, Pittsburgh at Arizona, Indianapolis at New Orleans, St. Louis at Dallas and Seattle at Cleveland. Baltimore visits Jacksonville on Monday night.
Off this week are Buffalo (4-2), Cincinnati (4-2), the New York Giants (4-2), New England (5-1), Philadelphia (2-4), and San Francisco (5-1).