For those that have followed along with us since the beginning, you know I’m not a Cam Newton guy.
With that in mind, the fact of the matter is it feels like Newton will absolutely be the starting quarterback again this season, which means whether we like it or not, it’s time to start planning for 2021. Training camp is right around the corner after all.
There is always the outside chance that things got so bad last season Bill Belichick comes to his senses and starts Mac Jones Week 1, but until that happens, is it possible that Newton may actually be able to have a bounce back season? Most importantly, while Tom Brady’s return in Week 4 has gotten all the attention – rightfully so – Newton has a chance to make quite a statement when the Patriots travel to Carolina in Week 9.
I’ve never believed Newton deserves any benefit of the doubt for his putrid play last year, and the numbers on the surface were historically bad for this franchise, but when you look at the big picture compared to other seasons in his career, it actually wasn’t that bad.
First, Newton played 15 of 16 games last year with the one exception being the Covid game against Kansas City. In his now 10-year career, Newton has played in 16 games five times, 14 games three times and 15 games twice. His injury plagued season in 2019 was only two games long, but the point is the guy has pretty much played through everything no matter what the injury talk is surrounding him.
Newton competed 65% of his passes a year ago, which is the second highest percentage of his career (67% in 2018). The eight touchdowns he threw last year is obviously a horrifically low number, but the 10 interceptions were tied with the lowest for a season in his career alongside the 10 he threw in 2015…the same year he won the NFL MVP.
I know it’s tough to envision, but what if the Pats are well over .500 when Newton returns to Carolina? You don’t think if he’s in the middle of a resurgent year that game won’t turn into quite an interesting little piece of theatre? Brady and the Bucs coming in here is obviously the biggest regular season storyline in the NFL, but if Newton is even slightly better than he was last year, the November 7th game could be extremely intriguing.
Trust me, I would much rather be talking about Jimmy G coming back in here this season, picking up the offense he spent years learning and and utilizing the weapons Belichick and Kraft spent on. That’s not an option, so I’d much rather watch Mac Jones make a few rookie mistakes but still throw the football like an actual human and not like one of those electric football quarterbacks that you flipped the lever on.
That’s probably not happening either.
So, let’s remember that Newton is a former MVP, a three-time All-Pro and will be entering his 11th season in the NFL. There’s no way it can get any worse, right? We may not be happy when he’s under center against Miami in Week 1, but what if…
What if Cam Newton is actually good this year?
It could happen.