New England Patriots: Cam Newton under fire early in Training Camp

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JULY 28, 2021: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots throws a pass during training camp at Gillette Stadium on July 28, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JULY 28, 2021: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots throws a pass during training camp at Gillette Stadium on July 28, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

Critics, even top New England Patriots reporters, were already dissing Pats quarterback Cam Newton after the team’s first summer camp practice on Wednesday. Talk about jumping the gun a little bit? Give us a break, please.

This space is no stranger to supporting Newton. It did before and since he signed and then re-signed with the New England Patriots. Articles pointed out that even top writers were scapegoating Newton in 2020 for the team’s dismal showing.

Now, after the first practice and 15 passes, the boo-birds were out again. Newton went eight of 15 with two interceptions on the first day. Big deal. Already they’re insinuating that he’s headed for the bench.

Now let’s make one thing clear, this space has also been a strong proponent of Mac Jones as a future Patriots quarterback whenever that happens, very strong. He’s a terrific talent.

It may very well be this season he emerges. Who knows? It also certainly may be a real competition developing.

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But let’s allow the camp to play out more than a session or two before anointing anyone anything. Bill Belichick has stated that Cam Newton is his starting quarterback.

Jones was nine of 19 with a fumble at the first practice. Now, things do change due to injury or camp performance.

But to cast aspersions and make judgments based on one or two practices is totally beneath any objective critic. Looks like both had an OK first day.

That means, if my outstanding math proficiency (not!) is correct, had Newton completed two more passes he would have notched a very respectable 66.6 percentage completion rate.

But evidently, Newton’s performance was worse because his throws weren’t perfect. It says here a completion is a completion, period.

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So, now, surprise, here we are on day two of camp and Cam had an excellent day completing nine of 15 and Jones was eight of 15. So there we have it. Neither one practice nor one week will a starter make. It’s a body of work.

Let’s suffice it to say that Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels will make the determination of the starting quarterback based on whom they feel gives them the best opportunity to win.

That’s the bottom line for the New England Patriots as stated by Belichick and certainly implied strongly by the owner, Mr. Robert Kraft.

Mr. Kraft’s emphatically chiming in, in no uncertain terms about having a good offseason, has been written about in this space previously and is can’t be taken lightly. He wants back in the playoffs and back in the limelight.

This past atypical offseason with megabucks being spent on free agents (we’ll see how that plays out) and finally with a very sensible draft can likely be attributable to Mr. Kraft’s interjecting himself directly into personnel matters.

No one doubts that the selection of a quarterback is the major decision of the coaches unless there is an absolutely dominant player like a Tom Brady or an Aaron Rodgers on hand.

It’s going to be made by September 12 based on the precept noted above, winning. It’s still the opinion here that Newton will be first to take the field on September 12 against the Dolphins.

As long as his throwing is solid, which it has been to date in a small sample, and he’s really totally recovered from his shoulder problems, he should be just fine in that department.

And no observer can forget that Cam Newton is an exceptional runner. Jones is not, yet he’s no statue either. His forty-yard dash time of 4.72 or so is in no way indicative of a lumbering guy at all.

Yet, Newton’s ability to carry the ball is a weapon that in conjunction with a strong running game, sound receivers, and tight ends (who hopefully are now on the field with him), can be an absolute difference-maker.

As has been written before, the threat of a Newton run is a weapon that was not well-exploited by the Patriots’ offensive staff last season. They telegraphed his runs and it cost them big-time.

That was in large part due to the lack of competent receiving and tight end talent on the roster and the lack of a short-yardage back which hopefully rookie big back, Rhamondre Stevenson can remedy (though he’s hurt at the moment).

Mac Jones has the talent and the game to certainly turn the heads of his coaches and win the starting job. If he does, so be it.

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But the more likely scenario is that Bill Belichick goes with the former MVP, Cam Newton while Jones has time to watch and get acclimated.

Cam Newton will take the helm with a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove to all the critics who just won’t given this man a break.

We’ll see in about five weeks if he starts or not. It says here he most likely will and with good players around him he’ll help the New England Patriots rise from the ashes like a phoenix.

It’s going to be interesting to watch throughout camp, so let’s wait a while before judging every throw by the quarterbacks. It only makes sense.