SAN FRANCISCO — There’s a reason Cam Newton was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, and it’s not just for the threat he poses as a runner.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback, who led all quarterbacks in 2015 with 636 rushing yards and a whopping 10 rushing touchdowns, also has developed into a lethal passer in his fifth NFL season.

Newton threw for a career-high 35 touchdowns this season, tied for second-best in the league, and threw just 10 interceptions while completing nearly 60 percent of his passes. He’ll have his work cut out for him Sunday in Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos’ elite defense. But NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci told’s Michaela Vernava at Super Bowl Radio Row this week that Newton’s improved passing attack could give the Panthers a leg up.

“Cam is so unique,” Mariucci said. “We talk about this new generation of quarterbacks that can run and all that, and that’s fine, of course he can do that.

“… But you have to be able to throw the ball if you want to play quarterback in this league. He can throw the football, and he throws it very well; he’s the best in the league against the blitz. That’s really where he’s improved himself.”

For an extended interview with Mariucci, which includes a full breakdown of what to expect Sunday and a look at Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, check out NESN’s YouTube page.

Thumbnail photo via NFL Network's Steve Mariucci talks Cam Newton with's Michaela Vernava.