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Throwback Thursday: Redskins Face Cam Newton

How has Washington handled the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner?

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Fight for Old DC: 2011 and 2012 Season

The Redskins first took on Cam Newton in Carolina on October 23, 2011, and they saw him again at FedEx Field on November 4, 2012.  Ultimately, the burgundy and gold couldn't win either time, and Cam Newton put up solid numbers against Jim Haslett's defenses.

Pass: Comp. Pass: Att. Pass: Yds Pass: TD Int Rush: Att. Rush: Yds Rush: TD
2011 18 23 256 1 0 10 59 1
2012 13 23 201 1 0 8 37 1

In both games, the Redskins held Newton and the Panthers to a total passing yards number that was below the Redskins' average passing yards allowed in 2011 and 2012.  However, while Newton didn't put up staggering numbers through the air, his ability to move the ball with his legs helped the Panthers go above and beyond the Redskins' average rushing yards allowed in those seasons.

The touchdowns are something that stand out, as well.  Newton is a big body in the red zone and a hard guy to bring down.  In these games, he managed to score as many points on the ground as he did by passing the ball.  Like many teams that season, the Redskins couldn't contain him completely, and the results showed up on the scoreboard.

Modern State of Affairs: November 22, 2015

Cam Newton has received plenty of attention in the media this week, largely for endzone celebration.  Still, not every story has been about his dancing skills.  Redskins Coach Jay Gruden acknowledged in his press conference yesterday that the leader of the undefeated Panthers has to be considered for MVP (not something I saw in my crystal ball when I selected Aaron Rodgers before the season started...).  But what will it look like when Washington lines up across from him this week?

On an undefeated team, Newton is surrounded by a lack of superstars.  Fans will likely recognize the names of RB Jonathan Stewart, TE Greg Olson, and WRs Ted Ginn, Jr. and Jerricho Cotchery, but that's about it.  So, the question becomes whether or not they trust their secondary enough to keep tabs on the receiving corps while using their defensive line and linebackers to contain and pressure Cam Newton.  The Redskins still aren't amassing a ton of sacks or forcing turnovers with consistency, but players like Stephen Paea, Chris Baker, Ryan Kerrigan, and even Trent Murphy are beginning to step up and make plays along the line, and that's what it will take this week for the defense to stop Newton.

And the winner is...

When considering this match-up, it's worth noting that the defense has changed significantly since playing Newton three and four years ago.  Just four other players (Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, Ryan Kerrigan, and Perry Riley, Jr.) were on the team in 2012, and DeAngelo Hall is the only defensive player who will be lining up against Newton for the third time.

With that in mind, the current defensive unit is coming off a game in which they held a future Hall of Fame quarterback and his offense in check, and they played as a cohesive group, making standout plays when they had to, including a pick six for the first time in two years.  As long as they continue to be more sure in their tackling and work to limit Newton's impact in the game, I think the advantage has to go to the 2015 team.