Back-up Derek Anderson on standby as QB, father
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Derek Anderson has to be ready at a moment’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.
“I enjoy it here,” Anderson said. “Why go somewhere else and have to learn a whole bunch of new teammates? I like it here. It’s a great city, and I have great teammates.”
Family also played a major factor into the 31-year-old’s decision to rejoin Carolina.
His wife, Lisa, is due with the couple’s first child on Aug. 23 — the day after the Panthers travel to play the New England Patriots in the team’s third preseason contest.
“I saw a face the other day,” Anderson said of his wife’s ultrasound. “That was pretty cool. I don’t know what it is, but it’s got my big ole schnoz, though. I hope it’s a boy. They said it’s six pounds already. It’s pretty stressful.”
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 — Newton, Anderson and Webb — on its roster this NFL season.
Despite a competition between the two, Anderson said he and the 27-year-old Webb have bonded.
“He’s a good dude, a really good dude,” Anderson said of Webb. “In the meeting rooms, he’s been really good. We have a lot of fun in there. Always have.”
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 hasn’t ran a time in the 40-yard dash in nearly nine years.
“I think I’m faster than people give me credit for,” Anderson said. “Obviously, I don’t want to run if I don’t have to. I think that’s something I’ve made a concerted effort on to get better on the move.
“For me personally, as I get older I’m just making sure that I continue to improve on that,” he added. “We all get a little stiffer and a little tighter. I’m just trying to make sure my mobility is good.”
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 Newton’s style of play may change as his career continues.
“As 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,” Anderson said. “That is something that he brings to the table. At any point, it doesn’t matter if he’s trying to run. It might just open up and all of a sudden he’s 10, 15 or 40 yards through. It’s something I think he’ll always use, but I don’t think it’s something he’ll always rely on.”
Anderson still believes he has something to prove and that if needed, he could be the starter for any NFL team, including the Panthers.
“Personally, I think I could, but I’m happy with where we are here, our team and our situation,” he said.
After a decade of playing in the NFL, Anderson’s goals for the rest of his football career are simple.
“We are winning football games here, and I want to win football games,” he said. “I want to win the Super Bowl. At this point in my career, that’s what it’s all about.”