Last season, Newton rushed nine times for 86 yards, including a 32-yard gain in the Falcons’ 30-28 victory at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 30. In Carolina’s 30-20 win Dec. 9, Newton rushed nine times for 116 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown run.
“He’s a dynamic quarterback,” Umenyiora said. “He can beat you with his arms and his legs. We know that we have a tough challenge in front of us. We have to find a way to get the job done.”
With Newton as a threat, the defense has to account for all 11 players.
“You have to know your assignment because if one guy makes a mistake, that’s when they gash you,” Umenyiora said.
What makes Carolina’s read-option even more potent is that Newton has developed into a strong passer.
“Each year he taken big steps,” Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. “If they just sat him in the pocket and had him throw the ball, he could beat you.”