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Cam Newton: Panthers’ receivers have ‘accepted the challenge’; Drew Brees defines ‘good chemistry’

Posted Jun 12, 2014

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Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Jim Harbaugh

The Carolina Panthers are perceived to have the worst group of receivers in the NFL.

Actually, that was being kind. Cam Newton, the Panthers’ quarterback, defined the perception as “sorriest.”

Either way, Newton and the Panthers understand that they face a whole lot of skepticism in their ability to move the ball through the air because all of the receivers who caught passes for Carolina last season are no longer with the team.

The Panthers’ receiving corps has a bunch of new faces, including Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant, Tiquan Underwood, and first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin, who many observers thought was selected too high.

“The elephant in the room has already been stated,” Newton was quoted as saying in the Charlotte Observer. “Those guys have already accepted the challenge. You don’t have to go in there and tell those guys, ‘Hey, you’re projected the sorriest receiver (group) in the NFL.’ We already know.

“But with that, those guys already have that fire in their eyes. I would rather those guys be like that and for them to go out there and bust their tails like they’ve been doing. It’s kind of like a slap in–not only their face–but my face as well. The things that have been said, the reports, who cares? Because at the end of the day, we will be ready to play football, and Carolina Panthers football. Hard-nosed, and everybody’s going to have to do their job.”

DREW BREES AND MARQUES COLSTON HAVE EXCEPTIONAL QUARTERBACK-RECEIVER CHEMISTRY

Every quarterback and receiver in the NFL should enjoy the sort of chemistry that exists between New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Marques Colston.

They arrived together in New Orleans in 2006, Brees via free agency and Colston with the Saints’ final pick of that year’s draft.

As Brees explained to reporters covering the Saints, he and Colston have developed such a level of trust and understanding when it comes to executing plays that Colston, who has 607 career receptions, has the freedom to run routes as he sees fit rather than as they are designed.

“There’s a way a route is drawn up on the blackboard and then there’s a way you actually execute it on the field depending on the type of coverage and the technique and what you’re seeing,” Brees said. “We just tell (the younger receivers), you’re a rules guy and not a guidelines guy,” Brees said. “There’s guys that are rules guys – in other words, this is the rule, this is the way it is on paper, this is the way you do it – and there’s other guys that are guidelines guys, like here’s kind of what’s in the framework of these guidelines as to how this route is to be run, but if you feel something or see something and you’re on the same page as the quarterback, then you, by all means, do it.

“Marques is a ‘guidelines’ guy.”

49ERS ADD QUARTERBACK GURU AS COACHING INTERN FOR TRAINING CAMP

George Whitfield is known as one of the top quarterbacking gurus in the country.

He specializes in helping top college quarterbacks prepare for pre-draft workouts, and he also helps to oversee some of those sessions. Whitfield, who played high school football in Massillon, Ohio, has worked with Johnny Manziel, Andrew Luck, and Cam Newton.

The San Francisco 49ers would now like Whitfield to work with Colin Kaepernick, and have brought him aboard as an intern on their coaching staff through training camp.

“I thought it’d be beneficial for us to have (Whitfield) here,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was quoted as saying on CSNBayArea.com. “There’s no carte blanche, but we agree on a lot of things. Haven’t found anything we disagree on. So it’s not like we’ve turned our quarterbacks over to George, but he’s going to augment and assist and I think it’ll be beneficial for us, beneficial for him and should be a win-win. Always looking for that.”

ROB CHUDZINSKI PROVIDING OFFENSIVE PERSPECTIVE FOR COLTS’ DEFENSE

Former Browns coach Rob Chudzinski has been utilized in various ways in his capacity as special assistant to Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano.

So far, despite his background as an offensive-minded coach and a former offensive coordinator, Chudzinski has spent the bulk of his time working with the Colts’ defensive coaches.

“I can sit down with Chud for a good 30, 40 [minutes] to an hour and just melt through stuff that he did in Carolina and what he did in Cleveland as well,” defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was quoted as saying in the Indianapolis Star. “It’s a great addition for me to have a guy like that from an offensive perspective. Even though (Pagano) is here, it’s still a defensive perspective. … I understand, ‘OK, I want to beat this protection.’ But how do you actually beat it? Chudzinski (explains,) ‘Here’s what the guard’s thinking. This is what the center’s thinking.’ That helps me to come up with something that’ll beat that protection.

“When we’re breaking down tape of other teams we’re going to be playing, it’s great to sit with him and (learn) why are they doing those things? You never really know as a defensive coordinator because you’re never in those (offensive) meetings. When I sit with him for those hours, I’m listening to what he’s thinking. It’s those little things.”

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