Triple threat: Panthers' Cam Newton adds another skill -- blocking


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- If you want see Cam Newton's chest bow out, his smile grow to caricature size and his eyes light up like the love of his life just walked in the room, don't ask about one of his patented runs or on-a-dime touchdown passes.
Ask about his blocking.
Nothing gets the Carolina Panthers quarterback more excited than talking about how he took on an opposing defender, even if he didn't actually hit anybody, as was the case in Sunday's 42-28 victory against Tampa Bay.
It's something the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2-1) will have to be prepared for against the Panthers (6-2) on Thursday night (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox/NFL Network).
"I've been seeing a lot of folks didn't want no smoke from your boy," Newton said Sunday after being the lead blocker on Curtis Samuel's 33-yard, double-reverse touchdown run. "I've got good film now and it goes way back."
Had you not seen Newton run out of bounds without hitting anybody as the defensive back approached, you would have thought he was describing his Week 5 shot that sent New York Giants linebacker Kareem Martin to the ground.
The way Newton lowered his shoulder and hit Martin square to free rookie wide receiver DJ Moore for a 19-yard gain was something you'd expect from a tight end, not a quarterback.
"If I can make a block, I'm going to bust my ass to do it," said Newton, who is bigger than some tight ends at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. "It sets the tone for the team. Not only for people on our team to see it, but in preparing and you see a quarterback and he's willing to sell out for the team the way I do."
Other quarterbacks, most of them mobile, have had a memorable block or two. Brett Favre used to relish the opportunity to lead a reverse.
But Newton is better at it than most because of his size.
"When it all comes down to it, I try to make sure my guy isn't the guy to make the tackle," Newton said. "I know guys like DJ, when guys like that have the ball in their hands they're extremely dangerous. I just want to uphold my end of the bargain."