Bill Belichick signing a former No. 1 total choose and one-time NFL MVP for a veteran minimal deal in the midst of June feels somewhat too on model, however contemplating he had his canine Nike draft a Division II hybrid defensive again linebacker along with his first choose after buying and selling out of the primary spherical, possibly the Patriots coach is simply feeling himself this offseason.
Cam Newton is now a member of the Patriots, a surprisingly apparent conclusion for the previous few months. The Patriots clearly imagine in Jarrett Stidham, however Newton makes extra sense as a substitute for Tom Brady. If he fails to stay as much as the lofty requirements set by the 20-year Patriots quarterback, it means considered one of two issues: Newton wasn’t wholesome sufficient to carry out or Stidham is nice sufficient to beat out a wholesome Cam for the QB1 function.
Neither of these issues is a loss for the Pats on the price ticket. This is an upside-filled, no-brainer transfer for New England. Will it work out? It’s actually unattainable to know, as a result of Newton’s well being is an X-factor.
So let’s discuss Cam’s well being.
What harm is he getting back from?
There’s a standard notion about Newton’s well being and the way a lot he is deteriorated during the last a number of years. Newton’s well being is spoken about in a method indicating his physique has betrayed him and he is simply fully fallen aside. People discuss him as being “broken.” It’s ridiculous. I completely take umbrage right here — Newton has proven a number of instances within the final two seasons that he is near being fully wholesome.
Heading into 2018, Newton was at 100 %. He spent the primary eight video games of that season taking part in excellent soccer earlier than struggling a shoulder harm towards the Steelers in a blowout Thursday Night Football loss. Newton would by no means be the identical till going beneath the knife in January 2019.
It’s my perception Newton was fully healed from his shoulder harm that offseason, however nobody ever really noticed Newton throw the soccer a lot previous to him struggling a foot harm towards the Patriots within the preseason. The Panthers downplayed it, however by Week 2 of 2019, one thing was clearly incorrect. Newton re-aggravated the foot harm towards Tampa Bay throughout a 20-14 loss that featured ugly climate. People wished to concentrate on his inaccuracy due to the shoulder harm, nevertheless it was unquestionably the foot harm inflicting him to overlook throws. Newton hardly stepped into something that night time.
It bought worse after Newton got here up limp late within the first quarter.
People declare “Cam wasn’t ever accurate” and level to the shoulder harm to recommend Cam is toast. Cam accomplished nearly 68 % of his passes in 2018 and 67.three % previous to injuring his shoulder in Norv Turner’s offense. He might be correct in an inexpensive offensive system. He wasn’t crusing the whole lot towards Tampa Bay due to his shoulder — he could not step into something with a crunked up foot.
Unfortunately for Cam, there isn’t any assure he comes again from foot harm in completely clean trend. CBS Sports’ Brady Quinn and I’ve talked about this a bunch on the Pick Six Podcast — Brady suffered a Lisfranc harm when taking part in within the NFL however did not have surgical procedure on his foot till a few yr in the past. Obviously it is not the identical problem as Cam, however speaking to Brady about it, there are clearly some points adjusting to life after getting your foot surgically repaired, like how you can regulate exercises, overcompensating for the foot harm and a few mobility points.
Again, I’m not saying Cam will battle these points, however it will be stunning if the restoration was fully seamless and performed with in simply six months (he actually ought to have had the foot surgical procedure in October, however that is a complete totally different story).
That’s exactly why New England satisfied Newton to decide on a vet min deal jammed with incentives.
Why did not anybody else need Cam?
I bought requested this roughly 4 billion instances on the radio Monday within the wake of Newton’s take care of the Pats, and a big cause for the skepticism from folks inspecting this deal is New England. Anywhere else with no gives and the anti-Cam crowd — and buddy is it a big crowd — is flying out of the woodwork to scream about how he cannot be correct or run an NFL offense, blah, blah, blah.
The actuality of the scenario is New England was the one touchdown spot for the previous MVP. Cam wished an opportunity to begin however could not go to anybody for physicals throughout the early portion of free company. If you need to play the rule-out sport, you’ll be able to rule out the Dolphins, Bills, Jets, Browns, Texans, Chargers, Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Redskins, Giants, Broncos and Cardinals as a result of all of them have younger quarterbacks they not too long ago drafted within the first or second spherical. The Colts, Titans and Buccaneers all signed quarterbacks this offseason. The Panthers lower Cam. The Bears traded for Nick Foles. The Falcons, Saints, Cowboys, Eagles, Lions, Bears, Packers, Steelers, Chiefs, Raiders, 49ers and Rams all have veteran quarterbacks.
That leaves the Pats and Jaguars as the one attainable mutual touchdown spots for Cam. Jacksonville desires to see what it has in Gardner Minshew and is rebuilding. The Pats at all times made sense, particularly with the best way Belichick has lengthy revered Newton.
“Not saying that there aren’t a lot of other good players that do that, but I would say, of all the guys we play or have played recently in the last couple of years, he’s the hardest guy to deal with,” Belichick stated again in 2017. “He makes good decisions. He can run. He’s strong. He’s hard to tackle. He can do a lot of different things, beat you in a lot of different ways. We saw that in the game down there in ’13, so I would put him at the top of the list.
“Not saying the opposite guys aren’t an issue, as a result of they’re, however he is Public Enemy No. 1.”
Those are the sort of phrases reserved for considered one of Belichick’s Guys (Ed Reed, and many others). Pretty clearly, Cam is on the Belichick Crush List.
What will this offense look like?
I’m absolutely fascinated by what the Patriots are doing this offseason. They just lost Tom Brady. The greatest quarterback in the history of football “left” (for my part he did not get requested again, prefer it was boarding faculty, however that is additionally one other story for an additional day) they usually’re rebooting for the primary time within the historical past of the best dynasty in sports activities historical past.
Belichick spends all offseason making overt gestures to point he is able to roll with Jarrett Stidham after which in the midst of the summer season he picks up some of the distinctive gamers the game has ever seen for the vet minimal.
It’s so compelling and much more so when you think about how the Pats have been constructing this season. I’m firmly of the idea Belichick desires to run the dwelling crap out of the ball this yr, understanding an extremely shortened and distanced offseason will make including any type of complicated layers to his offense will make issues harder for groups with restricted quantity of practices obtainable. It is smart — consistency goes to be king in 2020, however if you happen to resolve to kick 20 years of consistency to the curb, the plain subsequent transfer is to make issues so simple as attainable.
This already was in place earlier than Newton got here into play. The Patriots did not add a bunch of weapons within the passing sport this offseason, as an alternative deciding to toss the franchise tag on guard Joe Thuney (TBD if a deal occurs, however that transfer is a fairly clear indication how vital the run sport is) after which spent two early draft picks on tight ends for the primary time since 2010, selecting up Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene within the third spherical of the draft. Sony Michel was 2018’s first-round choose and Damien Harris was a third-round choose final yr; this shift has been occurring longer than Belichick would love you to know.
My private Stidham concept entails Belichick hoping he may recreate 2001, placing a robust protection in place with a great run sport and getting some sport administration and clutch throws out of his younger quarterback. People overlook, however Brady did not come out gunning, he was a sport supervisor who made an obscene variety of clutch throws and sensible selections for the early portion of his profession.
But Cam offered some very good worth and a ton of upside. And you understand what makes an influence run sport instantly higher? The menace of a quarterback who can run. If you’ve got adopted soccer the final 10 years it is best to know the mathematics on it — when the offense is studying a defender it turns into 11-on-10 if you happen to run the play appropriately. That’s the type of calculus/economics Belichick would most likely have been concerned in a decade in the past if he hadn’t gotten to teach Brady for 20 years. (Aside: the Pats taking Michel as an alternative of Lamar Jackson must be an all-time NFL What If?)
So now you give him Cam Newton, a former NFL MVP and, in my thoughts, the best speeding quarterback of all time. We have not seen peak Cam shortly, so it is simple to overlook, however this was the start of 2018. It wasn’t that way back.
If Cam’s foot is wholesome and he performs 16 video games — not a given, but when — the Patriots will steamroll this division once more. Go again and watch what Josh McDaniels did when Jacoby Brissett began towards Houston in 2015 whereas Tom Brady was serving his Deflategate suspension. They opened with learn possibility. And then the Pats proceeded to run Brissett 10 instances in that sport. Jacoby Brissett is an efficient quarterback however he isn’t a quick runner. The function of the plan was to maintain the Texans on their heels (it labored) and decrease the quantity of the throws Brissett wanted to make.
McDaniels drafted Tim Tebow within the first spherical when he ran issues in Denver. It wasn’t for his passing prowess.
Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry aren’t overpowering anybody from an air assault standpoint. But Edelman is an ideal Cam receiver. He runs tight routes and has a stunning catch radius for somebody his dimension. Cam can lower it unfastened and he’ll come down and preserve operating. Harry is red-zone monster who bought unfairly dogged final yr as a result of A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel (the latter a PERFECT Patriots participant if there ever was one) blew up whereas Harry did not do a lot for the Pats.
If Cam is wholesome the Pats are gonna have some wild stuff to work with offensively, and most if it will not power them to get out of their base offense. Go 12 personnel with two tight ends, pound the ball, run some funky stuff with Cam, rating 21 factors and let your protection take over.
So what is the large takeaway?
The humorous factor about Cam Newton is he spent nearly each single day of his life from the second he stepped foot on Florida’s campus till now being a lightning rod. There are one million causes and a bunch of them aren’t soccer associated. Some mother wrote a letter to a Tennessee newspaper complaining that Cam had an excessive amount of enjoyable on the sector. There has by no means been a time in Cam Newton’s soccer profession the place folks did not yell about no matter he was doing.
And then Bill Belichick signed him. We all agreed it was a fantastic transfer.
Cam ought to win this job, until a) he isn’t wholesome or b) Stidham is a monster. Either method is a win for Belichick, as a result of he will get a free roll with essentially the most dynamic crimson zone menace to ever play skilled soccer. A wholesome Cam feels tough due to how lengthy it has been since we noticed 16 video games, nevertheless it’s not far-fetched. Imagine considering Belichick lastly misplaced Brady after which someway bought wholesome Cam for a pair seasons. The AFC East has been licking its chops for just a few years now, however that hubris may need been misplaced. The boats, they could beat ceaselessly.