Panthers going to hurry-up offense? Not so fast, says Rivera
(AP Photo/Michael Perez)
By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers quarterback Cam Newton loves playing in the no-huddle, hurry-up offense, calling it "our edge."
Tight Greg Olsen believes Newton excels in an upbeat offense.
But coach Ron Rivera pumped the breaks on the notion that the Panthers should shift to an up-tempo style offense for four quarters after erasing a 17-point fourth quarter deficit Sunday and stunning the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles 21-17.
Rivera said Monday that while he is open to using the no-huddle more in certain situations moving forward, he quickly added "I don't think that is going to drive who we are as an offense."
Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner went to the hurry-up offense in the fourth quarter to breathe some life into a listless offense that managed just seven first downs and no points through three quarters. Newton responded big time, completed 16 of 22 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns in the closing quarter, including the go-ahead score to Greg Olsen with 1:22 left.
Newton has excelled in the no-huddle offense throughout most of his eight-year NFL career, seemingly liking the rhythm of a fast-paced attack.
Many of those have come in the fourth quarter. Newton now has 15 career fourth quarter comebacks, the most of any active QB in the league, including Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (14).
That's something that hasn't gone unnoticed.
"I think we're really good when we don't huddle," Olsen said. "... I think when we got into that tempo, and just stayed on rhythm, stayed ahead of the chains, it allowed us to just kind of settle in a little bit and then we saw guys, all different guys, making plays."
Newton said he feels like it gives the team an edge over the defense.
"And coach always says it, being in a hurry up doesn't mean rush, doesn't mean mayhem, it's just controlled tempo - and we are in control of that," Newton said.
Newton isn't sure why it all clicked so well on Sunday.
"I have been doing it my whole career, to a degree," Newton said. "But we know in this league, given defensive wrinkles you see, that's what it's all about, making mid-game adjustments."
Rivera said there are plusses and minuses to running the no-huddle offense, but it would be impractical to use it all of the time.
The Panthers host Baltimore and its physical defense on Sunday.
"Circumstances dictate a lot of things that happen more so than anything," Rivera said. "And there have been situations where we have come out and started the game in no-huddle and gone three-and-out, so I just think it is situational. (But) do we need to look at it? Most certainly."
Rivera said the benefit is that it often prevents defenses from substituting players for obvious passing downs. And when it begins to click, Newton seems unstoppable at times.
On the downside, Rivera said the no-huddle can cause unneeded stress on the defense when it's not working.
"If you go three-and-out, three-and-out and three-and-out, your defense is constantly out there," Rivera said. "So it can wear your defense out as well. It is mostly certainly a team thing and situational and by rhythm. I believe Norv has a good handle on it. I think what he did Sunday was right along the lines of trying to create energy. And he did that."
NOTES: Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith has a sore knee, but said there is no structural damage after a late-game injury on Sunday.
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Updated October 22, 2018