Cam Newton is who he is, he doesn’t try to be anybody else, and there’s really no one else like him in the NFL. But while his teammates love him, not everyone else does.
Would Newton’s antics bother various members of the Panthers if they were playing for another organization and Newton wasn’t there teammate?
“Of course,” Panthers safety Roman Harper said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It bothered me when I was with the Saints, so I understand. But I’m not there no more, so I like it.”
Harper, who won a Super Bowl with the Saints, is trying to win one with Carolina. The Panthers host the Cardinals in the NFC Championship this Sunday at 6:40 p.m. ET.
Carolina and Arizona finished with the top two records in the NFL this year, with the Cardinals advancing to the NFC Championship after beating the Green Bay Packers in overtime, 26-20. Arizona won despite rushing 19 times for just 40 yards (2.1 yards per carry) and Carson Palmer throwing two costly interceptions.
Harper and the rest of the Carolina secondary will need to be in top form, though, as the Cardinals boast arguably the greatest collection of pass-catchers in the NFL.
“Well, we got to understand where each guy is at, understand what each player does and what they’re great at,” Harper said. “(We got to keep) these guys in front of us. We can’t give up the deep ball. We understand that’s the quickest way to lose a game. We got to put some pressure on Carson and throw some timing off with these receivers and the quarterback. If we can do that, we’ll be successful. I’me expecting us to hopefully be able to do that.”
Arizona’s receivers were the difference last week against Green Bay. Larry Fitzgerald had eight catches for 176 yards, including a 75-yard reception and the 5-yard game-winning touchdown in overtime, Josh Brown had five catches for 82 yards, and Michael Floyd had two touchdowns. Heck, even David Johnson had six catches for 43 yards out of the backfield.
Any of those players could hurt Carolina this Sunday.
“You (got to) focus on the group,” Harper said. “You can’t just (put) all eyes on one guy because they’re definitely all talented and they all can beat you in different ways. But Larry has definitely willed them last week to victory, and leading the effort and the way he manages things and his body over these past ew years, he’s really done well. He’s stepping his game up to another level, not just physically, but emotionally with all the effort that he plays with. You really got to tip your hat off to him. He’s a special player and he’ll be in the Hall of Fame one day because of it.”