“This is it.” That’s what Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Deion Sanders said about the upcoming season for the New England Patriots and Cam Newton. Sanders also called into question the editing of a video that depicted Newton grossly inaccurate over the course of a few throws when compared to Mac Jones.
Sanders believes the 2021 campaign is Newton’s final chance to prove he’s a starting-level quarterback in the NFL. Sanders said this during an appearance on the NFL Network:
If I know Cam, though, he’s going to be ready to compete. I don’t know how long they’re going to give him, but Cam is going to be ready to compete because this is it. This is it. This is it. You don’t get this one, it’s a wrap. And I think Cam is ready to compete.
In the spot, Newton also called out this video from NBC Sports Boston that depicted the 2015 NFL MVP as being far less accurate than Jones.
Sanders hinted at some sort of bias against Newton as he said, “I know darn well Cam wasn’t that inaccurate. Who cut that tape?”
Sanders is Right, Though
While how badly Newton played in 2020, and the reasons for his struggles are debatable, what isn’t is the level of urgency on his performance in 2021.
Newton has more backers and fans in the NFL than a lot of the media gives him credit for, however, the Patriots have a capable roster on both sides of the ball this year. If Newton doesn’t lead the team to markedly better results this season compared to last, there will be no excuse.
Not every member of the media is as down on Newton as some. Boston.com’s Khari Thompson had a more objective take on Newton’s upcoming season:
Assuming a fully healthy season, it’s unlikely Newton will struggle to quite the same extent as he did in a bizarre 2020. That said, the Patriots can’t count on his arm and legs alone to win games; they must surround him with a supporting cast that can make his job easier. Furthermore, Newton’s likely not a long-term answer at the position at this point in his career.
With Mac Jones already on the roster, it is clear which direction the Patriots are leaning in the future. The question is: when does the future begin?
The Competition for Cam Newton
Newton is well aware of the situation surrounding himself and the Patriots QB depth chart. During a meeting with the media, Newton talked about the way he handles the competition, and that it hasn’t changed since he entered the NFL.
As a competitor, 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 and Cheese’ (Jones) didn’t want to be a starter. I’d be a fool to think Jarred Stidham didn’t want to be a starter. And you’d be a fool to think that I don’t want to be a starter. But those things happen with the comfort of understanding the system, we all know nothing is going to be given to nobody and it’s just that competition each and every day with yourself, is going to bring out the best in everybody else. The better that I am, the better Mac will be, the better Mac is the better he’s going to make me be. The better Stidi is, and the list goes on, especially with Hoyer. Hoyer is the person who sets the tone for that room, he’s been here the longest he has so much a great feel and we all learn from each other. The better off everybody is in that room the better off we will all be.
The better Newton is, the longer he’ll remain in the QB1 spot. This is it.
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