On Friday, Newton confirmed the deal with a bit of a hype video on his Instagram channel.
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The Upside to Cam Newton’s Return
Newton would be the first to tell anyone, 2020 didn’t go as planned. He struggled with more interceptions than TDs, for the first time in his NFL career. The Patriots missed the postseason for the first time since 2008, and as Newton said in his post, there were plenty of critics who slept on him last season.
Newton had several hardships to overcome last year. He signed late in the offseason, and this hurt his grasp of a new offense. To compound that, the pandemic altered the 2020 season was altered for everyone. It virtually eliminated training camp, and that only made Newton’s late signing all the more problematic.
Newton and the Patriots got off to a strong start with a 2-1 record, but he caught COVID ahead of the Week 4 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, and that set him and the team back. Newton only missed one game, but he didn’t look the same the rest of the season, quite frankly. They would finish the season 5-7 after the loss in K.C. Once Newton returned to the lineup.
The Patriots’ passing weapons were arguably the worst in the NFL in 2020.
Jakobi Meyers emerged as the team’s top option as he seemingly came out of nowhere to snag 59 receptions for 729 yards. That was a nice second season for an undrafted 24-year-old, but when that’s the stat line for a team’s No. 1 receiver, you know that squad has some problems moving the ball through the air.
Despite all of these shortcomings, behind a stout running game that ranked No. 4 in the NFL, his own success in the red zone, and opportunistic pass defense, the Patriots still finished 7-9. In 2021, Newton will have a full training camp, he’ll be in his second season in the offense, and his preparation isn’t likely to be as hindered as it was in 2020.
The run game could be even better in 2021 with the addition of offensive tackle Trent Brown, which allows Mike Onwenu to go back to guard, where he can replace Joe Thuney, who is likely to leave in free agency. If the Patriots re-sign center David Andrews, we might be looking at one of the Top O-lines in the NFL.
Add to all of that more weapons in the passing game via free agency and the draft, and the Patriots offense could look completely different and vastly improved from last year.
The Potential Pitfalls to Cam Newton’s Return
We’ve all heard the concerns about Newton’s arm strength. Many of them have been overblown and are overly simplistic takes from people who haven’t studied a lick of film. They are simply parroting their favorite talking head’s take.
However, there is some merit to the throwing struggles, which most who actually study the film will tell you, are more about feet mechanics than a lack of arm strength.
These issues have always been a problem for Newton. However, as he’s gotten more comfortable in a system, he’s been able to limit the issues.
If that doesn’t happen in 2021, and Newton continues to have somewhat erratic accuracy on short-to-intermediate throws, the critics will double down on their criticism, and quite honestly, there won’t be a logical defense for Newton.
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