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Scouting Notebook: Cam gets his groove back

Michael Salfino
Yahoo Sports

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Cam Newton has turned things around after a rough start to the season. (Getty)

Cam Newton's tremendous Week 14 shows, perhaps too late for many of his owners, that yards per pass attempt is bettable when it is high despite sub-par touchdown totals. Newton has been about 8.0 in YPA all year and now the touchdown production is elite, too, as he continues the type of productivity run only his most bullish supporters envisioned.

Denarius Moore's struggles since his hot stretch were predictable, I believe now (as I did then), because he's just the latest mid-level wide receiver struggling with his own limitations in the harsh face of stardom. Okay, that's the last Almost Famous reference for the week after Scott Pianowski and I dropped a bunch in our latest Breakfast Table.

But it is an apt metaphor. Once you have a run like Moore, teams focus on stopping you and only the special talents or receivers with special quarterbacks (who make defenses pay for focusing too much on anyone, stopping them from that) can overcome.

BenJarvis Green-Ellis has had a good run the past month, averaging over 5.0 per carry and mixing in a couple touchdowns. The set-up in Cincinnati is pretty good and I would confidently add him as a second running back next year. Next week, of course, is a dream matchup against the Eagles.

Jason Witten has 92 catches and one TD. That's not easy to do and I'm sure his owners are frustrated. Backing out Witten, who has generally struggled to find the end zone (but not to this degree), the tight ends in history (32 player seasons) with more than 80 catches have averaged a score every 11.9 catches.

Broken record, but C.J. Spiller gets eight touches today? Do the Bills want to win the Stephen Strasburg Award for the most recklessly conservative misuse of your most valuable asset? My vote is in the bag, Bufffalo. When you get your ice cream cake on your birthday, you eat it. You don't put it right back in the freezer so you can eat it next year.

Sam Bradford: the poor man's Mark Sanchez. Or maybe the rich man's, as he's cost more in draft and salary bounty and been equally disappointing. They also both have terrible supporting casts and share the same bad offensive coordinator in Brian Schottenheimer.

I have no idea why Josh Freeman played so poorly against the Eagles but he's a dangerous player to own. Freeman's volatility (quantified by passer rating) makes him often unable to capitalize on what seem to be cushy matchups. His ratio of over-100 passer rating starts to under-70 starts is about 1:1, with relatively high totals in both. Eli Manning is similar.

It's ironic that Andy Reid drafts and develops Nick Foles but it's Michael Vick who punches his ticket out of Philly. Foles is making Philly really attractive for the next coach.

I guess it shows how far we've come in 40 years when Adrian Peterson has a good chance to crack the 2,000-yard rushing mark while barely missing any time after a major knee injury. Gale Sayers's crowning career accomplishment was coming back to gain 1,000 yards after a similar knee injury.

Brandon Marshall has over 40% of his team catches and over 50% of Chicago's receiving yards. That's good for his owners but bad for the Bears.

A lot of people are finding reasons why Danario Alexander was always some talent in waiting but he's sure taken me by surprise. I believe now, though, enough to make sure I start Alexander no matter who my other wide receivers are. He's top 10. And we don't have to worry that much about the Moore effect referenced above because he has dominating size and the much better quarterback than Carson Palmer.

A lot of Robert Griffin III owners had a bye this week and they're going to wish they had one next week because I can't even imagine he will play, never mind be effective.

Future MVP Terrell Davis had three 100-yard rushing games in his great rookie year in 1995. Alfred Morris already has six (three in a row). There have been 12 rookie running backs since 1960 with more. The record is 10 by Edgerrin James in 1999 (Colts).

In his last three games, Vernon Davis has three catches for 19 yards. The team has to care about getting the player involved and the Niners clearly do not. It's a simple matter of will (or lack of it).

Teams with no offense like the Cardinals hang in there for a while defensively and then just give up all at once like Arizona did in Seattle, especially versus the run. Next up: Mikel Leshoure.

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