Cam Newton is already better than expected as the Patriots’ starting quarterback. But do not think for a second that a healthy Newton would be producing this way, this fast for any other team needing better QB play in 2020.
After two weeks of NFL action, Cam is the frontrunner to win the NFL comeback player of the year award and the oddsmakers agree, you can find the best odds on Cam taking the trophy home here.
That includes his former team, the Carolina Panthers, who moved on by paying QB Teddy Bridgewater a lot more money than Cam ended up getting in his late-offseason deal with the Patriots. File the Chicago Bears, Colts, and Washington Football Team under the same category.
Cam needed an offense that would adjust to his strengths. New England, with Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniel’s, had been sticking with QB Jarrett Stidham for a long time throughout the spring and summer as Number 12’s replacement. You can bet they were creating time to make sure Cam was fully healthy for them — and devising ways to incorporate his dual-threat into their offense.
The Patriots have not wasted any time embracing the running aspect of Cam Newton, immediately making him their leading ball-carrier and rusher. By creating space behind a perfect line, they have managed to get Cam to rely less on his big frame and more on his athleticism, so he is not taking those body blows that ruined him in the past, much like Lamar is untouched when running for the Ravens.
When Cam Newton has been in the pocket, he has mostly been asked to get the ball out very quickly, being more calculated with his deep throws. After Cam just had to “game manage” to beat the Miami Dolphins, he was MVP-level stellar against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night to give his team any shot against Russell Wilson.
Cam Newton (30-of-44, 397 yards, TD, INT, 9.0 yards per attempt, 94.6 passer rating) is no longer trying to be SuperCam. You can tell New England have emphasized with him that they do not plan to put him in danger often. At this stage of his NFL career, trying to make a comeback at age 31, he needs to be more of a system- and supporting-cast QB.
The Patriots knew that Cam had an outlet for motivation, much like Brady arriving in New England with an under-drafted chip on his shoulder, out to prove many doubters wrong. They also tapped into Newton’s big personality, letting him embrace his alpha if he “did his job.”
In the end, they made it easy for Newton to fit in because everything was already adjusted to him, and not the other way around. Outside of the Ravens, Chiefs, Seahawks, and a handful of other teams that already are set with their franchise QB, there were not many teams able to adapt and evolve with Newton operating their offense in a new way.
Newton should be thrilled that all those bad-to-be teams, including Carolina, were not interested in him because it put him down the path of being a perfect fit with the Patriots. Those non-New England teams that could have used Newton did not just “pass” on him. They all would have failed him, too.