A quick look at where the Arizona Cardinals’ pressure on Cam Newton could come from:
The defensive line
Biggest threats: Defensive ends Calais Campbell and Frostee Rucker.
How they’ll attack: Campbell, who has five sacks this season, is a classic bull rusher of Pro Bowl quality. At 6-foot-8 and 300 pounds he’s as big – if not bigger – than the offensive linemen blocking him. Rucker, with three sacks this season, is a bit smaller at 6-3 and 280 pounds. He’s more of a stunt rusher with good quickness.
Watch for: Campbell said this week Newton’s tight end-like dimensions and strength are something you can’t really mimic on a scout team for practice.
Biggest threats: Outside linebackers Dwight Freeney and Markus Golden get plenty of pass-rush opportunities in the Cardinals’ 3-4 scheme.
How they’ll attack: Freeney was a bit undersized as a defensive end for the Indianapolis Colts but he’s just right as an outside linebacker, and quick and nasty.
Watch for: Freeney has had quite a renaissance since coming out of retirement. His eight sacks in 11 games as a Cardinal are twice as many as he had over two seasons with the San Diego Chargers.
Biggest threats: Linebacker-safety hybrid Deone Bucannon.
How they’ll attack: Bucannon was drafted out of Washington State as a safety and he’s flip-flopped of late between safety and inside linebacker for the Cardinals. He’s known as their best tackler, which is a key in dealing with Cam Newton.
Watch for: Bucannon’s mobility will play a big role in whether the Cardinals can get to Newton. He finished the season with 17 tackles for loss and three sacks.