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Panthers want Cam to know 'checking down is OK'

During his decades coaching in the NFL, Norv Turner has tutored the likes of Philip Rivers, Troy Aikman, Drew Brees, Alex Smith, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford, among countless other quarterbacks.

Taking over as the Carolina Panthers' new offensive coordinator, Turner told Albert Breer of The MMQB that he's never worked with one quite like Cam Newton.

"No," Turner said. "It's an understatement to say [Newton is] very unique, and when he's playing at his best, defensive coaches see him as one of the hardest guys in the league to defend. Now, I think we've added some guys that will help, so they can't totally zero in on Cam and just have a plan for him. We have some guys that have good playmaking skills and are going to help us."

The Panthers spent the offseason bulking up the weaponry around Newton. Carolina drafted D.J. Moore in the first round, imported Torrey Smith as a deep threat and signed Jarius Wright. They should get 2017 second-round Swiss Army knife Curtis Samuel back from injury. Christian McCaffrey's role should increase in Year 2, and adding early-down back C.J. Anderson represents an upgrade.

After Newton spent most of last summer rehabbing from shoulder surgery, getting a full summer immersed into Turner's offense will give the Panthers a leg-up after previous failures to retailor the O.

Scott Turner, the Panthers' new quarterbacks coach, said part of the team's plan is to get Newton to make quicker decisions with the ball this year and not hold out for the big play.

"With him, on every play, we want to make sure he has a plan and he's following that plan," the younger Turner said. "And to know checking down is OK. A lot of Cam's issues have come because he's so talented that he thinks he can make every play work. And sometimes, it's just not there, so you check down and go to the next play. By holding the ball, sometimes he takes hits or falls into negative plays.

"Making decisions quick, getting the ball out of his hand, that's where, when he improves, the consistency will come. ... We're not trying to make him anything he's not. We want him to be the best version of himself."

The Panthers hope the Turner family can unlock hidden potential the 2015 NFL MVP. If this season of change is scrapped as quickly as last year's rework, we can quit wondering if Newton can undergo a professional metamorphosis.

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