Cam Newton offers Chiefs a similar challenge to Lamar Jackson – NFL Nation
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs did a commendable job of defending a running quarterback — Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens — during Monday night’s victory. Jackson ran for 83 yards, but passed for just 97 and led the Ravens to just one offensive touchdown.
They have to do the job all over again on Sunday, this time against Cam Newton and the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS). Jackson is second in the league in rushing yards (182) for a quarterback, Newton third (149). Newton has the most rushing attempts of any QB (35) and Jackson is second (32).
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“You throw a quarterback back there who can run it and is willing to run like [Newton is], it’s always going to put a stress on a defense,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said.
“[Newton] is like [Jackson] in some ways and different in others. He’s a big, strong guy that I’m not so sure you can try to tackle high. He gets away from everything. You watch him tuck the ball down and run and he becomes a fullback. He’s not afraid to do that.”
The Chiefs have faced a mobile quarterback in two of their three games this season, which should make the short week of practice a little easier.
“I think it’s helped us,” Spagnuolo said. “I think our guys are a little more comfortable facing these kinds of guys because we’ve seen some really good ones.
“We talked all last week about ‘How do you tackle [Jackson]?’ We watched film of ourselves trying to tackle him low and he was getting away from that. He can run away from you if you tackle him high.”
While defending against a running quarterback has been normal for the Chiefs, facing the Patriots with a mobile passer is unusual. Newton’s 149 rushing yards are more than Tom Brady had in any of his 18 full seasons as New England’s starting quarterback.
It’s a different kind of challenge but Newton (2015 with the Carolina Panthers), like Brady (three times) and Jackson (2019) is a former NFL MVP.
“Tom Brady, you didn’t have to worry about him moving a lot,” Chiefs defensive backs coach Sam Madison said. “You just had to worry about his accuracy and his understanding of the offense and his delivery of the ball down the field. But this week is going to be similar as last week against Lamar Jackson. Cam Newton still has the instincts to be able to run and get up and down the football field and move the chains. That’s what the Patriots like to do.”
The Chiefs had some great individual efforts against Jackson and the Ravens. Most notable was defensive lineman Chris Jones, who had two sacks and forced Jackson to fumble twice.
Jones was limited in practice this week because of a sore groin muscle, so the Chiefs may need a big game against the Patriots from one of their other defenders. End Frank Clark, who sacked Jackson late in the game on Monday night, is a logical candidate.
“We kind of let things get out of hand [two weeks ago against the Chargers], kind of [got] away from where we see ourselves going this season as a defense,” Clark said. “Our main goal [against the Ravens] was just to get back on track to what we were doing. I feel like this was a start.”