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Breaking down Cam Newton and the 'read option'

Using video from Auburn and Carolina to look at the QB's production in the spread scheme. Matt Bowen

Print This October 25, 2011, 11:00 AM EST

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One of the keys to the production from Cam Newton is the offensive system the Panthers run on Sundays. Adapt the play calling and game plan to match the skill set of the rookie QB. And that's why we see multiple personnel groupings, formation alignments and concepts taken from the spread system.

On Sunday, in the win over the Redskins, the Panthers used the “read option” to get Newton into the open field for a TD. Similar to what we saw with the QB back at Auburn last season.

Today, let’s look at the “read option” at Auburn and in Carolina—because the spread concept can be a solid call moving forward in the Panthers’ playbook. Two quick breakdowns to check out.

Newton vs. LSU

- Start with the blocking scheme. Auburn is going to pull the closed (strong) side OG. No different than running the Counter OF weak from a 2-back alignment in the NFL. Lead up through the hole and work to the second level of the defense.

- The mesh point. Newton has to work the mesh point with the RB and read the DE. The same technique used on Friday nights for high school teams that run the inside and outside “veer” or down at Georgia Tech with the triple option.

- With the open (weak) side DE driving to the RB on the option read, Newton gets vertical up the field. What we see after that vs. LSU is one of the reasons the Panthers took him No.1 overall in the draft. Unique talent for an athlete that size.

Newton vs. the Redskins

-The Panthers have Posse personnel (3 WE, 1 TE 1 RB) on the field in a 3x1 alignment. Use pre-snap movement to motion TE Greg Olsen into the backfield and now Newton is working with the same 2-back look we saw vs. LSU.

- The blocking scheme isn’t much different. Down block from the LT with Olsen using the same Counter OF action to lead up through the hole and block the force safety in run support.

- Ride the RB through the mesh point. Here, Newton is reading the OLB, Brian Orakpo, to the open side of the formation. If he comes up the field, give the ball to the RB. And if he slants down, the QB will keep. Base option football at any level of the game.

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