The polarizing 32-year-old former NFL MVP endured some challenges during OTAs with a hand injury, and struggled throwing the ball on Tuesday, June 15. However, he bounced back with a vengeance on Wednesday with a fantastic performance throwing the foot all and processing information.
Many of Newton’s haters will cringe at the thought of him performing well because it will likely tighten his grip on the starter’s job.
NBC Sports Boston tweeted a video captioned, “Cam Newton was FEELING it today,” showing a healthy and vibrant Newton delivering the ball accurately.
According to the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian, Newton hired quarterback guru George Whitfield — who previously helped train him in college — to help refine his mechanics during the offseason. While there were some issues with accuracy on Tuesday, the work Newton has been putting in with Whitfield, as well as with the Patriots’ coaching staff, was clear to see.
There was some slippage after Newton hurt his hand, and while throwing in the rain, but things look promising now.
Newton Knows the Other QBs Are After His Job
During his only media session of the offseason to date, Newton was his normal, transparent self as he acknowledged all four Patriots quarterbacks’ desire to be the team’s starter.
“I’d be a fool if I didn’t think Brian Hoyer wants to be a starter. I’d be a fool not to think ‘Mac & Cheese’ (Jones) wanted to be a starter. I’d be a fool if Jarrett Stidham didn’t want to be a starter. You’d be a fool to think that I don’t want to be a starter,” Newton told reporters on June 15.
Besides the 35-year-old Hoyer, who isn’t considering a strong threat to start, Newton is by far the most experienced quarterback on New England’s roster. Jones is a rookie and Stidham, while heading into his third year as a professional, has never started an NFL game, and he’s thrown just 44 passes in the regular season.
Based on that factor alone, the Patriots coaching staff is leaning in Newton’s favor. When you consider the former No. 1 overall pick has the strongest leadership qualities, mobility and size to help in the running game, there will be an uphill climb for any competitor — even if he occasionally struggles with accuracy.
Newton Finishes Minicamp Strong
It was important for Newton to finish mandatory minicamp on a high note. He had dealt with an injury and perhaps some overreaction from the media, which bled into a fan base already divided on whether to support him for a second year as the team’s quarterback.
Playing well on Wednesday should establish some momentum for Newton heading into training camp in late July, and it reaffirms who the top dog is at the position.
As it is, it will take an injury or a herculean effort from Jones and/or Stidham to unseat Newton as the QB1 in New England.