Newton was limited in practice all week with an abdominal injury, and it’s the first time he’s been on the injury report all season–sans the game he missed when he tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Week 4 clash with the Kansas City Chiefs.
One Patriots writer who spoke to a source close to the situation seems to have a definitive answer.
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Newton Will Be “Good to Go:” Report
The Athletic’s Jeff Howe quoted a source and assured Patriots fans, Newton is “good to go” on Sunday.
Cam Newton is good to go Sunday pic.twitter.com/MUPfSGzOAx
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) December 4, 2020
Barring some sort of unforeseen setback, we should expect to see the 31-year-old, 2015 NFL MVP under center (or in the shotgun) for the Patriots on Sunday against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Will Newton Be 100 Percent, and Was He in Last Week’s Win?
While Newton being on the field is one thing, being at 100 percent is another. We never hear much of an explanation of the severity of Newton’s abdomen injury, but considering he was never held completely out of practice, there is a reason to believe it wasn’t too serious.
That said, something like this could be potentially aggravated with a simple throwing motion, a sack, scramble, and a dozen other things Newton is likely to experience on Sunday.
Based on the falloff in his performance from Week 11 to Week 12, it wouldn’t be crazy to think he might have been bothered by the injury during the win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Never one to make excuses, Newton instead took the brunt of the venom from critics who tore him apart for his inaccuracy and called for him to be benched.
If He Struggles, Will We See a Quick Hook From Bill Belichick?
Injury or not, if Newton struggles, I believe head coach Bill Belichick will look to Jarrett Stidham in a relief role. The Patriots have almost no room for error, and being too slow to pull the trigger on any decision could kill their already dim playoff hopes.
That decision would likely be music to the ears and eyes of those who voiced their displeasure with Newton in a starting role.
Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard, who has been one of Newton’s harshest critics recently wrote this about the prospects of benching Newton in favor of Stidham.
He’s an average passing quarterback that no longer has the same running prowess to offset that, and his feel for the position is limited and hasn’t been helped by his lack of familiarity with the scheme thanks to a limited offseason. So, basically, Newton is an average starting quarterback, one who was so bad in last week’s win over the Cardinals that the Patriots had to figure out how to win the game — or at least get it to overtime — while avoiding Newton. So the prospect of playing Jarrett Stidham, or at least getting a good look at what he could do with a full week of reps, has gained some steam as the Patriots barely cling to playoff hopes. When Newton was listed on this week’s injury report for the first time— he was limited in practice with an abdominal injury — there’s some thought this could be an opening for Stidham.
Newton can quiet all the noise (as he has before) by playing well and helping the Patriots to their fourth win in five games.
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