Newton unfazed heading into first playoff game
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera stopped just short of saying the Panthers put a leash on Cam Newton’s running during the regular season. (AP)
Programming note: Watch Friday’s 49ers press conference with Jim Harbaugh live on CSN Bay Area and streaming live right here at 10:30 a.m.
It’s the playoffs. And for the 49ers that means quarterback Colin Kaepernick transforms into a true dual threat.
It’s Cam Newton’s first career playoff game, and the same can definitely be expected of him.
Newton was second on the Carolina Panthers this season with 585 yards rushing and six touchdowns. Kaepernick was second on the 49ers with 524 yards and four touchdowns.
Kaepernick averaged nearly six rushing attempts per game for 33.2 yards rushing during his 23 regular-season starts over the past two seasons. In the postseason, he has averaged eight rushing attempts per game for a 90.5-yard average.
It was suggested to Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera that Kaepernick is held back from running in the regular season.
“I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that,” Rivera said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Colin Kaepernick is going to do what it takes to win. He’s got that kind of personality. At least, I think he does. You have to approach it as if he’s going to do whatever he has to do.”
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Rivera stopped just short of saying the Panthers put a leash on Newton’s running during the regular season.
“We try to be judicious, be smart about it, and limit his exposure to the big hits,” he said.
But it’s also clear that Newton – like Kaepernick – will not be quick to slide or get out of bounds when the opportunity is there to pick up additional chunks of yards.