The New England Patriots are struggling.
After a disastrous game and Cam Newton’s benching in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Bill Belichick was faced with a decision to make at QB. The direction he opted to go moving forward would obviously be a statement decision, with the candidates being Newton and young backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
It didn’t take long for Belichick to make his choice.
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Belichick is Sticking With Cam
In the post-game press conference after the embarrassing 33-6 home loss, Belichick did his part in killing any budding quarterback controversy. When asked if Newton would remain the starting quarterback, Belichick responded quickly and confidently.
It was an obvious question after Belichick turned to Jarrett Stidham in the third quarter following Newton’s third interception. However, Belichick explained, he only wanted to get Stidham some experience.
Bill Belichick says Cam Newton remains the QB. He just wanted to get Jarrett Stidham some experience.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 25, 2020
Why is Belichick Sticking With Cam?
Some may be asking themselves why Belichick would stick with Newton after two sub-par games, but the answers are pretty simple.
First, there is no indication that he has a better option on his roster. Stidham hasn’t played a single game in his career without throwing an interception. He placed a pass poorly during his brief playing time on Sunday, which resulted in the team’s fourth pick of the day.
With the Patriots placing a premium on protecting the football, Stidham hasn’t shown the ability to do that consistently. At first, his supporters kept pointing to the small sample-size excuse, but as his playing time increases, he continues to throw to the guys in the other jerseys.
We don’t really even have to discuss the Brian Hoyer option. He put together the most egregiously poor two-plus quarters of football against the Kansas City Chiefs three weeks ago, and was pulled from that game in favor of Stidham.
With Stidham and Hoyer as the other options, Newton still looks like the guy who gives you the best chance to win.
What Can Cam Improve Upon?
Newton’s accuracy and mechanics seem to have regressed since he returned from the COVID-19 reserve list. During the first three weeks of the season, he was mostly accurate with his throws and making quicker decisions with the ball. Since his return, he has completed just 26 of 40 throws for no touchdowns and five interceptions.
I don’t know if he is still feeling some effects of the virus, but it is clear something isn’t quite right. Hopefully, he can improve his accuracy and get back to exhibiting the improved mechanics he showed earlier in the season.
How Can the Patriots Help Cam Succeed?
Getting back to the coaching that had Newton looking so sharp in the first three weeks is an obvious approach, but the other is all about trying to get him at least one formidable weapon in the passing game.
It’s true, Newton has missed open guys like Damiere Byrd and rookie tight end Devin Asiasi on occasion during this season, but it’s also true the team doesn’t have the kind of player who can put pressure on a defense with their size and/or speed in the passing game.
If the Patriots are serious about trying to rescue this season, they have to make a move to get a legit receiver or tight end on this roster.
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