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Newton looks to borrow page from Manning's book

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Newton looks to borrow page from Manning's book

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Cam Newton knows he can learn a thing or two from Peyton Manning, beginning with his ability to win close football games.

With his swagger back after outplaying one of the NFL's bright young quarterbacks last week in Robert Griffin III, Newton faces one of the all-time great signal-callers Sunday when the Panthers host Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Manning closes out games better than anyone - something the second-year Carolina QB has struggled to do.

Newton said Manning is ``transcending into a God of the game. ... He's a Hall of Fame quarterback and the records he's set are extraordinary.''

Last week against Cincinnati, Manning engineered his 48th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, surpassing Dan Marino for the most in NFL history - after bringing the Broncos back from a 20-17.

``When we get up in a game it's like having a coach out there,'' Broncos linebacker Von Miller said of Manning. ``Sometimes you're on teams where it's a close game and the quarterback throws the ball and you kind of hold your breath. But when Peyton is out there we have full confidence in him.''

Newton would like his teammates to have that same confidence in him when the game is on the line.

The Panthers lost four straight games after leading in the fourth quarter before finally snapping that streak last week by holding off the Washington Redskins 21-13.

But Newton wasn't exactly pleased with how the Panthers won it.

Carolina led by 15 in the fourth quarter when the offense went into a bit of a funk and failed to pick up a key first down when it had a chance to bury the Redskins and seal the win.

``I have to do a better job of finishing,'' Newton said. ``There are things we as a team have to do better. ... I think it is more our psyche than anything. I think it's more mental than physical.''

He knows the Panthers can ill afford any of their fourth quarter lulls against Manning and company.

It seems no lead is safe against the Broncos, who have outscored their opponents 103-23 in the fourth quarter.

At the midway point of the season, neither Carolina's numbers nor his own stats are what Newton would have liked. Carolina owns the worst record in the NFC at 2-6 and Newton ranks 29th in the league with a quarterback rating of 77.7.

While he leads the Panthers in rushing with 347 yards and four touchdowns, he sees plenty of room for improvement. Newton has fumbled eight times this year, losing it three times. And he's thrown more interceptions (8) than touchdown passes (6).

``I have to protect the ball better, running the football and throwing it,'' Newton said.

Miller, who was drafted second overall in the 2011 NFL draft one spot behind Newton, has no doubt Newton will figure it out.

He considers Newton one of the best quarterbacks in the game, even calling himself ``one of Cam's biggest fans.''

``Coming out (in the draft) with him last year I saw him have to fight through all of that adversity and battle all of the naysayers,'' Miller said. ``But to be able to throw the ball and run the ball and being the overall superstar that he is, if I had children that wanted to play quarterback I would tell them to watch Cam Newton.''

As players, Manning and Newton couldn't be much different.

Manning has made his living off a strong arm and his ability to read defenses, something Newton admits he has to improve upon for the Panthers to take the next step.

``I have to get better just at making better decisions as far as getting through reads and checking the football down,'' Newton said. ``It's a steady process that has to happen. It's a constant reminder that has to be in my head.

``Even though I go into the game focusing on that I have to remember it when it comes to, say, the third play of the third quarter for example.''

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller analyze the Wizards' two picks the night of the draft.

They went in-depth on first round pick Troy Brown, Jr. and why the Wizards took him when some big names were still on the board. They also broke down why the Wizards chose to pick a draft-and-stash guy in the second round.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Ernie Grunfeld uses second round pick on draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon

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USA Today Sports

Ernie Grunfeld uses second round pick on draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon

The Washington Wizards selected international prospect Issuf Sanon with the 44th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Like Wizards first round pick Troy Brown, Sanon is just 18 years old and does not turn 19 until Oct. 30. President of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said that Sanon is a draft-and-stash prospect and will play at least the following year for Olimpija, a professional team in Slovenia.

Here’s what you need to know about Sanon:

Height: 6-4

Weight: 172

2017-18 stats: 20.5 mpg, 6.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.2 bpg, 42.9 FG%, 28.3 3PT%, 50 FT%

*Sanon is a defensive-minded combo guard that is not expected to be ready for the next few years. However, he thrived defensively, allowing just 0.471 points per isolation possession, according to the NBA. That ranks in the 92nd percentile. In the past two seasons in Ukraine’s second division, Sanon averaged 4.6 steals per game.

*While playing in the 2017 U-18 Euros for the Ukrainian National team last summer, Sanon broke out, averaging 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.4 steals per game. 

*During the middle of the 2017-18 season, Sanon changed teams. He moved from Ukraine’s Dnipro to the more competitive Olimpija in Slovenia.

*The biggest area of improvement for Sanon is developing his offensive game further. While he is just 18 and very raw, Sanon’s numbers have dipped since his move to Olimpija, especially shooting wise. Sanon’s strength comes in transition and his 6-4 frame helps him when slashing to the rim.

*Though he will not play for the Wizards anytime soon, he will come to the United States and play on the Wizards’ Summer League team.