There are others related to the team adding offensive weapons, fixing the linebacker group, how many of the COVID-19 opt-outs will return, and will Josh McDaniels be offered a head coaching job. Even with all of those potential storylines, Newton’s future is still the most compelling.
That’s why a question about Newton’s future was one of the things head coach Bill Belichick was asked this week as the team prepares for its final game against the New York Jets at home on Sunday.
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Belichick: “In Due Time”
Belichick was asked about Newton’s future with the Patriots and the coach gave an interesting answer:
Yeah, I mean again at this point, just trying to do the best I can to help our team prepare for the Jets and finish the season on a good note. Again, these guys have really competed well in practice this week. They’ve tried to get ready like they have all year long, and I want to do the best that I can to prepare our team to give us every opportunity to perform well on Sunday. So, all your questions about some other year and going forward and all that, we’ll deal with that in due time. But, right now, I really want us to try to go out and perform well on Sunday, and that’s really what everybody’s trying to do here, which that’s what I want and that’s what I expect and that’s what I respect about this group is the way they approach things like that.
Belichick is right not to play into the questions that dismiss the final game of the season. The Week 17 matchup with the Jets won’t have playoff ramifications, but it’s essentially the first preseason game of the 2021 season or a look into next year’s training camp.
There are still decisions left to be made about the roster for the upcoming season. What happens on Sunday could impact those decisions.
Could Week 17 Be the Final Indication for Newton?
If Newton comes out and has a strong performance against the Jets, his critics will say it doesn’t matter because the success came against one of the league’s worst teams and nothing tangible is really at stake.
Those things are true, but
However, if McDaniels opens up more of the playbook and allows Newton to go down the field more often, and the team has success with those looks, it might just provide enough inspiration for the decision-makers to see a more fruitful future for Newton with the Patriots.
If Newton looks bad and is again lifted for Jarrett Stidham, that isn’t the way the former would want to end the season. It also would likely leave a bad taste in Belichick’s mouth as it relates to Newton’s potential return.
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