There were questions on how ready QB Cam Newton was for the NFL after coming from a very simplistic offense at Auburn. So far in his NFL career he has proven that he's legit. 6-5, 248 pounds with a big arm, Newton is built like a more athletic version of Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. He raised eyebrows by posting two 400 yards passing games in consecutive weeks and getting his first win as a pro against the Jaguars in the Monsoon Bowl. This Sunday he faces off against a defense in the Bears that will test his accuracy and awareness.
Carolina has plenty of weapons on offense (including Newton himself) in WR Steve Smith (Bears fans know him pretty well), former Bears TE Greg Olsen, Jeremy Shockey, RB's DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, and WR Brandon Lafell who's coming into his own. With the exception of Steve Smith those are not household names, but a talent like Newton brings the best out of them.
Putting pressure on Newton with the front 4 and Blitzing
This might be a game where Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli could mix it up a little bringing more than 4 or 5 guys on Newton in order to confuse the rookie. The interior defensive linemen will draw a tough match-up against veteran interior O-linemen Ryan Khalil and Travelle Wharton. The 3 technique tackles of Henry Melton and Amobi Okoye might have a match-up that favors them going up against RG Geoff Hangartner. If the Bears can get some pressure on Newton they might be able to force him into some mistakes.
Coverage on the Receivers (specifically the TE's)
So far Newton has been glued to Steve Smith and TE's Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey. I imagine that both Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings will draw responsibilities on Steve Smith depending which side of the field he lines up on. Both Bears CB's will need to be able to neutralize Smith and make it hard for Newton to get it to his #1 target. If the pressure is getting to Newton and he has to rush a throw, mostly likely either Smith or Olsen will be his safety blankets. The Bears linebackers draw a tough assignment considering Olsen knows their tendencies and coverage looks. At the same time the Linebackers know Olsen tendencies also so this at the end of the day might be a Wash.
The DE's containment on the outside
Not only do the Bears have to keep containment on the outside against their explosive RB's, but also Cam Newton himself. If the Bears are getting pressure from their defensive tackles it should give them an edge as the Linebackers and Ends have more than enough speed to contain Newton when he's on the run and possibly force some turnovers.