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SPARTANBURG, S.C. â€” Derek Anderson has to be ready at a momentâ€™s notice.
The Carolina Panthers back-up quarterback is not only prepared to step in to play if starter Cam Newton takes place, but also is preparing to become a father.
Despite receiving multiple offers in the offseason, Anderson re-signed with the Panthers on March 14.
â€śI enjoy it here,â€ť Anderson said. â€śWhy go somewhere else and have to learn a whole bunch of new teammates? I like it here. Itâ€™s a great city, and I have great teammates.â€ť
Family also played a major factor into the 31-year-oldâ€™s decision to rejoin Carolina.
His wife, Lisa, is due with the coupleâ€™s first child on Aug. 23 â€” the day after the Panthers travel to play the New England Patriots in the teamâ€™s third preseason contest.
â€śI saw a face the other day,â€ť Anderson said of his wifeâ€™s ultrasound. â€śThat was pretty cool. I donâ€™t know what it is, but itâ€™s got my big ole schnoz, though. I hope itâ€™s a boy. They said itâ€™s six pounds already. Itâ€™s pretty stressful.â€ť
Needing speed to run its read-option offense, the Panthers signed wide receiver-turned-quarterback Joe Webb on March 21.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera has hinted at the idea that Carolina may place three quarterbacks â€” Newton, Anderson and Webb â€” on its roster this NFL season.
Despite a competition between the two, Anderson said he and the 27-year-old Webb have bonded.
â€śHeâ€™s a good dude, a really good dude,â€ť Anderson said of Webb. â€śIn the meeting rooms, heâ€™s been really good. We have a lot of fun in there. Always have.â€ť
While Webb has demonstrated his athleticism, Anderson has also shown off his speed in practice of late.
Anderson said he recently recorded an 18.7-second time in high-speed running, but joked that he hasnâ€™t ran a time in the 40-yard dash in nearly nine years.
â€śI think Iâ€™m faster than people give me credit for,â€ť Anderson said. â€śObviously, I donâ€™t want to run if I donâ€™t have to. I think thatâ€™s something Iâ€™ve made a concerted effort on to get better on the move.
â€śFor me personally, as I get older Iâ€™m just making sure that I continue to improve on that,â€ť he added. â€śWe all get a little stiffer and a little tighter. Iâ€™m just trying to make sure my mobility is good.â€ť
With starting quarterback Cam Newton undergoing left ankle surgery in March, Anderson is more prepared than he has ever been in his entire 10-year NFL career to step in if the former No. 1overall pick goes down.
Anderson believes Newtonâ€™s style of play may change as his career continues.
â€śAs you grow as a quarterback, you learn to kind of get the ball out of your hand and let those guys make plays, but (Newton) is a different guy,â€ť Anderson said. â€śThat is something that he brings to the table. At any point, it doesnâ€™t matter if heâ€™s trying to run. It might just open up and all of a sudden heâ€™s 10, 15 or 40 yards through. Itâ€™s something I think heâ€™ll always use, but I donâ€™t think itâ€™s something heâ€™ll always rely on.â€ť
Anderson still believes he has something to prove and that if needed, he could be the starter for any NFL team, including the Panthers.
â€śPersonally, I think I could, but Iâ€™m happy with where we are here, our team and our situation,â€ť he said.
After a decade of playing in the NFL, Andersonâ€™s goals for the rest of his football career are simple.
â€śWe are winning football games here, and I want to win football games,â€ť he said. â€śI want to win the Super Bowl. At this point in my career, thatâ€™s what itâ€™s all about.â€ťView more articles in: