The worries been replaced by talk of Newton being an MVP candidate again.Newton is thriving in his first season under the 66-year-old offensive coordinator. The Panthers are 5-2 and picking up a head of steam on offense entering Sunday's home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.The eight-year quarterback combined for 271 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's top-ranked defense over the weekend as the Panthers dominated the Baltimore Ravens 36-21. Turner used all of his weapons ??and a variety of misdirection plays ??to keep Ravens defenders guessing instead of attacking.Baltimore [b][url=http://www.baltimoreravensteamauthentic.com/patrick-onwuasor-jersey]Authentic Patrick Onwuasor Jersey[/url][/b] , which had 11 sacks against the Titans earlier this season, never got to Newton, and Carolina scored on four straight possessions to build a 24-7 halftime lead.Afterward, Ravens coach John Harbaugh could only tip his hat to Turner."He did a great job scheming us up, keeping us off balance," Harbaugh said. "He forced us to put certain personnel groups out there and then he had counters for it. He did a tremendous job."The misdirection plays left the Ravens befuddled at times, as Newton pitched out to wide receivers, used fake handoffs to running back Christian McCaffrey to set up the passing game and a naked bootleg to score a walk-in touchdown.Asked why defending Carolina's misdirection offense was so difficult, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith held up one hand and said, "Look at my hand. Now if I smack you with this (other hand), you won't see it coming. That's how it works."A big reason the Panthers were smacking the Ravens was the emergence of rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore, the team's speedy first-round draft pick.The Maryland product compiled 129 yards of offense in the first 2 ? quarters, the beneficiary of the Ravens focusing their attention on stopping other playmakers like McCaffrey, tight end Greg Olsen, wide receivers Devin Funchess and Curtis Samuel and former 1,000-yard rusher C.J. Anderson.Newton spread the ball around, targeting eight different receivers [b][url=http://www.baltimoreravensteamauthentic.com/alex-collins-jersey]Authentic Alex Collins Jersey[/url][/b] , leaving the Ravens unable to focus on stopping one player."That's huge for us, because when you do that, it's like, 'OK, who are you guys going to try to lock down?'" Rivera said. "... This week (Moore) had a lot of success, and maybe next week he won't because they'll be trying to double up on him, and that may leave somebody else open."The Panthers are getting exactly what Rivera was hoping for when he made the decision to jettison long-time offensive coordinator Mike Shula this past offseason in favor of Turner, whom he coached under in San Diego."I understood what offensively we could become," Rivera said. "We had a chance to follow coach in Minnesota and how he worked with Teddy Bridgewater, who has a lot of the similar traits as Cam. So that was going to be an easy transition for us."Turner's son, Scott, returned to the team as the quarterbacks coach, too.He'd designed many of the plays back in 2001 when Newton joined Carolina as the No. 1 overall pick and was thrust in the mix right away.The biggest difference now is how many playmakers Newton has to work with, and that the QB has only been sacked five times in the last five games."We have three or four guys who are really fast on the offensive side," Rivera said. "It is the most speed we've had and because of that you see things opening up."Newton's numbers through seven games are impressive.He's completing a career-high 66.4 percent of his passes and has 17 combined touchdowns with four interceptions. He's on pace to be sacked a career-low 21 times, largely because he's getting the ball out of his hands quicker than ever in Turner's offense.Rivera said it's too say if Newton is playing as well as he did in 2015 when he combined for 45 touchdowns and won league MVP honors while helping the Panthers to the Super Bowl."The proof will be in the pudding when we get to the end of the year," Rivera said. "We'll see. He is playing well and I think we are playing well as a unit." RG3 is staying put while AJ is switching coasts.Robert Griffin III [b][url=http://www.baltimoreravensteamauthentic.com/willie-snead-iv-jersey]Womens Willie Snead IV Jersey[/url][/b] , the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year whose career has been disrupted by injuries since that season, remained with Baltimore as the Ravens cut their roster to the league maximum of 53 on Saturday. He'll likely be the third-string quarterback behind Joe Flacco and first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson, but he still has a job.AJ McCarron, who signed with Buffalo as a free agent after four years as a backup QB in Cincinnati, was traded by the Bills to Oakland. The Raiders closed a deal with Chicago to send star pass rusher Khalil Mack to the Bears for a slew of draft picks, including two first-rounders.Among the intriguing players let go were Dallas kicker Dan Bailey, Chiefs cornerback David Amerson, Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman, Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, Texans receiver Braxton Miller and guard Davis Quessenberry, and Steelers quarterback Landry Jones.QUARTERBACKSGriffin signed a one-year deal with the Ravens in April after sitting out the entire 2017 season. He was Washington's first-round choice in 2012, second overall, and led the Redskins to the playoffs that year before things went sour."There's no doubt that you want Robert Griffin on your team," coach John Harbaugh said after the final preseason game. "He makes our quarterback room better and stronger. He's a very good quarterback. He looks like a starter to me. He has been a starter. Certainly a backup in this league, without question. I mean, that's not even close. I would like to have him on the team, we'll just have to see how the math works."It worked.Another survivor thus far: Paxton Lynch in Denver.The 2016 first-rounder got through cutdown day despite slipping to third on the depth chart this summer. Chad Kelly leapfrogged Lynch last month and became the second seventh-rounder to beat out the former Memphis star. Trevor Siemian also managed it [b][url=http://www.baltimoreravensteamauthentic.com/tavon-young-jersey]Authentic Tavon Young Jersey[/url][/b] , but is now with Minnesota.In Pittsburgh, Josh Dobbs' impressive preseason cost Jones his job. The Steelers kept Dobbs and rookie Mason Rudolph as the primary backups to Ben Roethlisberger. Dobbs made significant strides in his second training camp and ended the preseason by throwing for a touchdown and running for another in a victory over Carolina. Jones had been 3-2 as a starter in five pro seasons, with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.Cincinnati put vet Matt Barkley (knee) on injured reserve, leaving Jeff Driskel as the backup to Andy Dalton heading into the season.BUSY GRUDENThe Raiders waived Martavis Bryant just over four months after trading a third-round pick to Pittsburgh for the receiver.The decision to cut Bryant came on a busy day for returning coach Jon Gruden, who dealt holdout pass rusher Mack to the Bears.Oakland got nothing out of the third-round draft pick sent to the Steelers for Bryant, who dealt with injuries in training camp and has had several off-field issues in his career.McCarron came from Buffalo for a 2019 fifth-round pick. He was both injured and inconsistent for the Bills in preseason and fell behind first-rounder Josh Allen and Nathan Peterman.Among the other notable players cut by Gruden were 2015 second-round defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. and 2016 fourth-round quarterback Connor Cook. Edwards' release means the Raiders now have none of their second-round picks from 2015-17 on the current roster.FAILED DRAFT PICKSThe Ravens parted with Perriman, the team's first-round pick in 2015. He managed just 43 catches for 576 yards and three touchdowns over 27 career games. It marked the first time in franchise history the Ravens cut a first-round pick before the end of his rookie contract.The Bills chose not to hold onto receiver Corey Coleman, who has been a disappointment since the Browns made him the 15th overall selection two years ago. Buffalo traded a seventh-round pick in 2020 for him.RELEASED VETERANSBrian Robison and Terence Newman were released by Minnesota.Robison was about to begin his 12th season with the team. Newman, the oldest defensive player in the NFL, will retire and immediately join the coaching staff ??three days before his 40th birthday.Robison, who's tied for ninth in Vikings history with 60 career sacks, was the longest-tenured player on the team. Drafted in the fourth round in 2007, he spent six of his 11 years with the Vikings as a full-time starter. Danielle Hunter moved ahead of him on the depth chart in 2017, and for the second straight offseason Robison took a pay cut to return in 2018.The Bengals released Johnson, a 10th-year defensive end, although it could be a temporary separation. Johnson becomes a free agent and could re-sign with Cincinnati for less money.Johnson has played all but one of his nine seasons with Cincinnati. He led the defensive line with 49 tackles and five sacks last season.The Chiefs released underperforming cornerback Amerson, who signed a $2.25 million free-agent deal this past offseason. Amerson was released by the Raiders before signing with Kansas City [b][url=http://www.baltimoreravensteamauthentic.com/alex-lewis-jersey]Womens Alex Lewis Jersey[/url][/b] , where he was expected to solidify the secondary after the trade of Marcus Peters to the Rams. But he was often burned in preseason games.Running backs Mike Gillislee and Brandon Bolden were sent packing by New England. Gillislee, signed as a restricted free agent before last season, ran for 383 yards and five touchdowns in nine games. He and Bolden became expendable with the signing of free agent Jeremy Hill.Bolden, who has been with the team since 2012, was also released on cutdown day last season but then quickly brought back and played in all 16 games ??at running back and on special teams.THE KICKERDallas waived Bailey, the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history. Bailey was Dallas' kicker for seven seasons and made at least 93 percent of his kicks in three of his first five years. He tailed off badly last season after injuring his groin against San Francisco in the sixth game.By waiving Bailey, the Cowboys are going with Brett Maher. The sixth-year player from Nebraska hasn't kicked in a regular-season game. He made a 57-yarder in the Cowboys' 14-6 loss to Houston in the preseason finale.Bailey is at 88.2 percent on field goals for his career (186 of 211), second to Justin Tucker's 90.2 percent. Bailey is Dallas' career leader in field goals.LEAVING HOUSTONMiller, a third-round pick in 2016, who was twice selected Big Ten offensive player of the year as a quarterback at Ohio State before transitioning to receiver after an injury, couldn't make the Texans. He saw limited action in two seasons with 34 receptions for 261 yards and two touchdowns in 21 games.Also released was guard David Quessenberry, a 2013 draft pick who spent years fighting cancer before overcoming the disease to make his NFL debut last season. He spent most of last season on the practice squad before being elevated to the active roster and playing in Houston's last two games in 2017.
Must be logged in to comment.