Thursday, October 20, 2011, UPDATED 2:30 p.m.
He wont be chuckling on Sunday if it happens, but Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Thursday he has been amused and impressed preparing for Carolina rookie quarterback Cam Newton.
Its funny when you watch the tape, you see guys hit him and they bounce off him and youre trying to wonder, Does he know hes getting hit? Haslett said.
Catching Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was last weeks challenge for the Redskins challenge; catching and corralling the 6-foot-5, 248-pound Newton is Sundays task.
It wont be easy. In addition to his size, hes fast (he ran a respectable 4.59-second 40-yard dash at the Combine) and he has a major-league arm.
But its when he leaves the pocket that Newton becomes especially dangerous. Among his 46 carries for 210 yards are six touchdowns the rest of the NFLs quarterbacks have combined for 18 TDs.
Three plays last week against Atlanta are examples of Newtons elusiveness:
Third-and-6 from the Carolina 30-yard line. Safety William Moore blitzed and beat running back Jonathan Stewart. Moore lunged at Newtons legs. Newton ran right threw the arm tackle. A second later, Jordan Babineaux probably thought he had a sack when he hit Newton in the mid-section. Nope. Newton ran through that, too, and gained 12 yards.
Second-and-10 from the Atlanta 23: The Falcons rushed four but quickly put pressure up the middle. Newton instantly left the pocket and gained 13 yards.
Third-and-5 from the Atlanta 13: The Falcons rushed six and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon beat Stewart up the middle, but discovered one-arm tackle attempts dont work on Newton, who scrambled for the touchdown.
Haslett said Newton and Vick are different types of scramblers.
Cam will run and hes a big body thats hard to get down, Haslett said. Hell stay alive and throw the ball.
Said defensive end Stephen Bowen: If we get a chance to get our hands on him, we have to secure the tackle because he twists out of things.
And though he has a 78.3 passer rating and nine interceptions, Newton has impressed as a passer. His 1,847 yards passing are the most for a rookie quarterback in their first six games and he already has two 400-yard efforts.
Any guy who is going out there setting records right out of the gate, its surprising, Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield said. I dont think anybody would have predicted things would be going this well for him. The more experience he gets, the more knowledge of the game he gets, hell just get better.
Haslett said Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski hasnt added a lot of volume to the game plan, which is a by product of Newtons inexperience and the fact he didnt have an off-season program.
Maybe as he learns the game, hell get worse, Haslett joked. Hes done a great job in that offense.
Big Chance For Paulsen
The absence of tight end Chris Cooley (broken finger) for the foreseeable future has created Logan Paulsens biggest chance of his two-year career with the Redskins.
Paulsen played only 41 of 334 snaps (12.3 percent) through five games but figures to see more time starting Sunday at Carolina.
Its a huge opportunity, Paulsen said. This is why Im here on this team for this situation, for this moment. Hopefully I can capitalize on it.
Paulsen, an undrafted free agent last year from UCLA, said his comfort level in the offense has grown, exponentially this year. Its night and day. Even this year in the preseason, I felt so much better. You understand whats happening.
Paulsen has been used primarily as a blocker, but could have some receptions coming his way.
I think I can help out a little bit in the passing game, he said. Obviously, Im here because Im a good blocker but Im not totally one dimensional.
Praise For Jenkins
Rookie defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins continues to make progress rehabilitating the knee injury he sustained in the preseason.
He ran up the steps for me today, Haslett said after the morning walk-through. Hes doing great.
Despite being on injured reserve, Jenkins has remained a constant presence at Redskin Park.
I think hes gaining because hes in the meetings and paying attention, Haslett said. I love how Jarvis prepares to play the game and how hes handling his rehab. Last year, a guy went on IR and we didnt see him all year.
That player is most likely linebacker Robert Henson. He was cut in training camp this summer.
After going through his first full practice on Wednesday since Week 3, receiver Anthony Armstrong (hamstring) said it his intention, to play Sunday.
Of the two penalties for snap malfunctions he committed against Philadelphia, center Erik Cook said: That was pretty much on me. Just mental mistakes. Ive been working on it in practice so Ive got them fixed.
The Panthers woeful rush defense leads the league in most rushes of 20-plus yards allowed (10) and tied for first in most rushes for 40-plus yards allowed (three).
Carolina could be using an undrafted rookie at right tackle in Byron Bell, who has already started two games. Regular starter Jeff Otah (left knee), a first round pick three years ago, was put on injured reserve earlier this week.
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