Cam Newton and the New England Patriots took the practice field for the first time on Wednesday. There were a few drills, and Newton’s dance moves caught a few eyes, but the most discussed, and perhaps meaningful video capture showed the Patriots running an offensive look that it hadn’t run too often in the past, which could become a staple among the current group of quarterbacks.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, and Brian Lewerke Practice Rollout Drill
Take a look at this brief, but potentially telling video:
As great of a player as Tom Brady was, the rollout or bootleg wasn’t a look the team could go to often with him under center. However, with three more mobile options at quarterback, this approach could become a serious weapon for the team.
Where the quarterback fakes the handoff here, he’d also have the option to run. That option gives the defense more to worry about, and that’s the whole idea.
In fact, the Patriots have added players who could potentially thrive with this look.
Newly-Signed Lamar Miller Could Thrive Taking the Handoff Here
Former Pro-Bowl running back Lamar Miller is one of the first guys that comes to mind. The Patriots reportedly came to an agreement with the 29-year-old earlier this week, but the signing has yet to be reported because both sides are waiting for the results of COVID-19 testing to return.
Assuming everything checks out on that front, Miller, who missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL, could find himself as the featured back in New England. Sony Michel will begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which creates an opening. James White is versatile but doesn’t usually carry a major load as a rusher.
Miller could step in and do a little bit of everything. The Patriots love that sort of back. CLNS’ Evan Lazar offered this breakdown of Miller snapping off a long gain in 2018 while with the Houston Texans. As you’ll see, the threat to run that Texans’ quarterback DeShawn Watson poses helps to create a cutback lane for Miller.
There’s every reason to believe Newton, more than any of the Patriots’ quarterbacks, could be effective with this look, and on the field with a speedy running back like Miller.
The same could be said for Stidham, who is a good athlete, just to a lesser degree than Newton. Keep your eyes open through training camp to see if this is a look the Patriots show headed into the 2020 NFL season.