Is Cam Newton better or worse against the blitz?


Earlier this week, we mentioned that Pro Football Focus is putting out a lot of good stats on quarterbacks this month. As such, we’ll be following along to see if anything interesting regarding Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton comes up. On Thursday, they released an illuminating piece on quarterbacks against the blitz and against pressure versus no blitz and no pressure. Here’s what it said about Cam:

-Cam Newton is below average against no pressure

Newton was just the 24th highest graded quarterback against no pressure in the NFL. Against no pressure, he had 15 touchdowns versus five interceptions, a 74.5% accuracy percentage, and averaged 7.6 yards per attempt (YPA). Those numbers aren’t bad by any means, but that’s compared to other quarterbacks when there’s no pressure, which is when they typically are at their most efficient. When Pro Football Focus got more specific and graded quarterbacks in situations where there was no pressure as well as no blitz, Newton was even worse comparatively, grading out as the 36th best QB in the league in these scenarios.

-Cam Newton is below average against no blitz

In situations where there was no blitz, Newton graded out as the 26th best quarterback in the NFL. He threw 14 touchdowns and six interceptions, averaged 6.8 yards per attempt, and had a 73.1% accuracy percentage.

-Cam Newton is borderline elite against pressure and against the blitz

Against pressure, Newton’s stats weren’t as good as they were versus no pressure (nine TDs versus eight INTs, 6.0 YPA, 66.4% accuracy percentage) but they were much better than the rest of the league. Only seven quarterbacks performed better with pressure in their face.

Against the blitz, Newton was the seventh best quarterback in the NFL. He pushed the ball further down the field (7.8 YPA) though he was less accurate (71.3% accuracy percentage) and threw more interceptions (seven) than versus no pressure as well as no blitz.

Cam is truly excellent when opposing teams get pressure off of blitzes as he ranked as the fifth best quarterback in the league in these scenarios.

-Big Takeaway

Cam isn’t going to carve up opposing defenses with a clean pocket the way a guy like Carson Palmer (sixth best quarterback versus no pressure) does. However, Newton also isn’t going to be completely shut down when pressure gets in his face like Palmer (46th best quarterback versus pressure). Considering how often quarterbacks face pressure in the NFL (and that’s not even factoring in the Panthers’ mediocre offensive line), that’s a pretty good trade-off.

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