No one can ever accuse New England Patriots QB Cam Newton of being complacent, or not putting in the work to get better at his craft. On his Instagram account, Newton says he is planning to lose 20 pounds this offseason.
Take a look at this image from his story on IG, which was captured by Say it To My Face:
Newton is a vegan, so you can bet his weight-loss plan will be heavily researched and packed with organic foods and tons of exercise. That said, what could this sort of weight loss mean for his NFL future?
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Leaner, but Less Powerful as a Runner?
According to Pro Football Reference, Newton is listed at 6’5″ 245 pounds. His actual weight could be anywhere from 240 to 250 pounds. In either of those cases, if Newton accomplishes his weight-loss goals, he’d be down between 230 and 220 pounds ahead of the 2021 season.
For most guys, that wouldn’t generate much concern. However, for a player with Newton’s playing style, you have to wonder how being that much leaner might impact his performance. In 2020, Newton rushed for 12 TDs and 11 of them came on designed QB runs from inside the five-yard line. Throughout his career, Newton has excelled at converting in short-yardage situations, often using his physicality to power through defenders into the end zone.
Does a 225-pound Newton still have the heft and push to execute in these situations? I guess we don’t know for sure, but it’s a legitimate question.
On the flip side, it’s also possible a lighter Newton would be a bit more nimble on his feet, which could make him a more effective dual-threat, only with a slightly different style.
Again, this is another sensible concept to consider.
What About Durability?
It stands to reason longevity and durability are the driving forces in this decision. Newton may have looked at his disappointing 2020 season, and also the less-than-stellar way the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger finished up his year and decided leaner is a better way to go if he is to maximize the remaining years of his career.
Roethlisberger is another big-body quarterback, and he appeared to be laboring his way through the final games of the regular season and in the playoffs. During the last five games of the regular season and the Steelers’ playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns, Roethlisberger tossed 13 TD passes and 9 INTs compared to 24 TDs and just 5 INTs in the previous 10 contests. He has never looked more out of shape than he did down the stretch, and perhaps a more proactive and body-conscious Newton wants to avoid that sort of pitfall.
There’s also the matter of injury.
Newton has had more than his share during his career, though he stayed pretty clear of that issue in 2020 aside from his one-game absence due to COVID-19 in October. Perhaps being leaner will put less pressure on his previously problematic throwing shoulder, and it could even help to correct some of the footwork issues that have plagued him at different times during his career.
Newton is such a driven athlete, there is no question he’ll accomplish his goal. All of these kinds of decisions present a risk-reward element, and we’ll have to wait to see how 2021 goes for Newton to know how things work out for him.
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