There’s been plenty of talk about the playcalling of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels over the years. On Monday, Cam Newton was posed a question about his OC’s decisions in the red zone, and the quarterback responded passionately.
The moment happened during Newton’s regular appearance on the Greg Hill Show on WEEI. Host and former NFL player Jermaine Wiggins said that as a fan, he is often frustrated with McDaniels’ playcalling decisions in the red zone.
He pointed specifically to a series of controversial calls on Thursday night that led to the Patriots coming away empty on what proved to be a crucial red zone series. Wiggins asked for Newton’s thoughts on the situation, and the quarterback wanted to make himself perfectly clear with his answer.
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Newton Makes Himself Very Clear
The positioning of the question seemed to urge Newton to criticize his offensive coordinator.
As you can clearly read in his comments, which were transcribed and tweeted by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the Patriots’ quarterback wanted to be sure to remain respectful, and also show his continued allegiance with McDaniels.
Cam Newton gave a four-minute answer today on @TheGregHillShow when asked about Josh McDaniels’ play-calling — going deep to defend the Patriots’ offensive coordinator.
Here is the full exchange (3 screenshots), including the question for context: pic.twitter.com/66DQ5pz9vZ
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 14, 2020
Much is said about the Patriot way, but one of the most underrated aspects of this team’s culture is the way they appear to have each other’s backs on the field and off. It’s what many current and former players often mention when reminiscing about their time with the organization.
For example, former Patriot and Hall-of-Famer Randy Moss recently told fellow HOFer Terrell Owens that he never felt like he was a part of a team until he got to New England.
This code and camaraderie are obviously still in play as McDaniels has shown his support for Newton despite the many critics he has in the media and elsewhere.
Josh McDaniels says on a conference call today that Cam has been “the best option all year long”
— Megan O'Brien (@MeganOBsports) December 11, 2020
Newton Continues to Display Exemplary Leadership
During this entire year, in good and bad times, Newton has done one thing consistently, and that’s show leadership and maturity. Even his harshest critics should be able to admit, no matter what has been thrown at him from COVID-19 to injuries, his teammates, and his own up-and-down play, Newton has remained steady, accountable, and positive.
Many people say they value character, but when they see it, they gloss over the quality and instead place all of the weight on bottom-line performance. That said, Newton hasn’t been as poor as some would lead you to believe with their overly simplistic evaluations that don’t take into consideration Newton’s wholistic impact on an offense.
However, that’s a series of points for another article.
The Playcalls Were Trash
While Newton is understandably unwilling to criticize McDaniels’ play calls, I’m not bound by the Patriot culture, and can freely say the decisions made in the red zone and other points during this season have been less-than-stellar.
As has been the case much of the year, McDaniels has shown a dangerously low level of trust in Newton’s ability to make plays with his arm, and he leaned too heavily on the Patriots and his quarterback’s ability to physically overwhelm the opponent.
This didn’t work on four straight run plays in the red zone against the Rams on Thursday. While I’m not going to say the Patriots win the game if they get into the end zone on that drive, I will say, that failure changed the tenor of the contest.
No one knows how things might have turned out if the Patriots get a touchdown or a field goal (looking at you Bill Belichick) with that opportunity.
Still, Newton makes it clear…he is Team McDaniels even though the coordinator won’t give him an opportunity to silence his critics.
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