Did Cam Newton's height force him to rush more often as a quarterback? 

Carolina Panthers v Miami Dolphins
Carolina Panthers v Miami Dolphins

Cam Newton is out of the NFL with seemingly no way back as a starter. This was a steep fall for someone who at one time was the most explosive quarterback in the league. Those who saw him in the 2015 season saw a player who was nearly impossible to stop. If you covered his passing options, he could just take off and rush for a first down or a touchdown.

But the Denver Broncos did manage to stop them in Super Bowl 50 and since then he could never reach the heights he did that season. He was nagged by injuries and over the years, he lost the efficiency that had made him the most feared prospect in the league at one time.

Irrespective of whatever happens, he will always be regarded as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks of all time. He has accumulated 5,628 rushing yards in his career, which puts him just behind Michael Vick in total rushing yards for a quarterback in the history of the league. His 1,118 rushing attempts are far ahead of Russell Wilson's 879, who is second on the list. Most imporantly, his 75 rushing touchdowns are nearly double that of Steve Young's 43, who is next on the list for most rushing touchdowns scored by a quarterback.

This shows how often Cam Newton has rushed in his career compared to other quarterbacks. His inclination to do so can be put down to a variety of parameters, but one consideration definitely has to be his height.

Cam Newton's 6'5" frame gave him an advantage while rushing

Cam Newton is 6'5" and he weighs 245 lbs. Many tall quarterbacks become pocket passers since they have a height advantage where they can stand tall behind their offensive line. The quarterback position does not require traditional athleticism, so someone like Tom Brady can easily play that position without having to rush too much. In fact, it often makes them more efficient.

"What's funny. Guys that have the most speed get sacked the most -- Randall Cunningham, Vick, Steve Young, Cam Newton. Guys that get sacked the least: Peyton, Marino, Brady, Brees. They understand we need to get rid of this ball because here comes danger." — @ShannonSharpe

Conversely, we often see shorter quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray scrambling because they are more elusive in the rush. But Cam Newton's height and athleticism gave him an advantage that others did not. He had the athleticism to rush and when he did he could cover more ground due to his height with fewer steps and bulldoze through tackles. Not only that, but when he fell forwards he would use his frame to pick up extra yards.

Happy 33rd birthday to @CameronNewton 🎂⭐ 1st Overall Pick⭐ NFL MVP⭐ Heisman Trophy⭐ NFC Champion⭐ Offensive Player of the Year⭐ Offensive Rookie of the Year⭐ All-Pro⭐ 3x Pro-Bowl⭐ Record Most rushing TDs by a QB in NFL History

His build and weight also ensured he was tough to bring down in full flow. This could have made rushing an especially appealing option for him. And those that did see him in his prime would agree wholeheartedly that once he took off, there was not much that could stop him.

You could argue that Cam Newton's rushing technique has been incorporated into the Buffalo Bills' usage and development of Josh Allen as a duel-threat. Allen is also 6'5" and can break a tackle. The main difference is that you normally see Allen rush outside the tackles, rather than straight through them. This is likely to extend his career. Yes, Newton also ran outside too, but near the goalline, how often did you see him bulldoze straight up the middle?

Whether or not Newton changed the game is debatable, but his physique was certainly a factor in his rushing success.

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Edited by John Maxwell
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