SportsPulse: Mike Jones breaks the Patriots’ contract with Cam Newton. Although it takes time to perspire, pairing can end up being a perfect fit. USA TODAY
It is true that neither Bill Belichick nor Cam Newton could have asked for a much better shotgun wedding, given how drastically each man’s NFL circumstances changed in 2020.
Belichick – in all likelihood – needed an infusion of the ability to play superstar in a New England Patriots offense that was unusually average, even with Tom Brady since he left in charge in 2019.
And Newton? He simply needed a job after the Carolina Panthers did him no favors while ending his nine-year stay in Charlotte, leaving him free in March a week after the free agency started and releasing the 2015 MVP in a market. of ruthless quarterback work, further hampered by the covid’s Pandemic flow19.
But while I may have to rethink my 8-8 projection for the 2020 Patriots – a healthy, integrated Newton certainly looks more capable than unproven Jarrett Stidham to guide New England to an unprecedented 12th consecutive AFC East crown – restoring the ever contentious Pats in The Super Bowl conversation after Newton and the team agreed to the terms of a one-year contract on Sunday still looks very premature.
And while I’m sure my “friends” from Bangor to Hartford (and beyond) are looking for new hopes this summer of their discontent after TB12’s shocking defection for the Buccaneers, here are nine reasons why the Patriots don’t they’ll be facing Brady – or anyone else – when the Super Bowl LV (hopefully) starts in Tampa next February.
The dynasties of the Super Bowl era do not hold up when the defender leaves.
The Packers waited 29 years for the next title, after Bart Starr was named MVP of the first two AFL-NFL titles, retroactively called Super Bowls I and II. Steelers fans suffered for 26 years between Terry Bradshaw’s final performance and Ben Roethlisberger’s first. The Cowboys are a quarter of a century from their most recent Super Bowl spot, with Troy Aikman and his fellow “Triplets”.
Yes, the 49ers won a fifth championship with Steve Young. But that was five years after Joe Montana’s Super Bowl ended, not to mention Young’s eighth year on the list.
Expecting Newton to parachute and take the Patriots to the seventh record Super Bowl title (in just 20 seasons) is simply not realistic.
OPINION: The union of Cam Newton and the New England Patriots could be a match made in the sky
MORE: Richard Sherman says Cam Newton’s salary with the Patriots is ‘disgusting’
2. Recent history of Cam
In the past three years, Newton had two shoulder shoulder surgeries before a Lisfranc fracture cost him the final 14 games of the 2019 campaign. Understandably, Belichick may be in love with the possibilities of a double threat QB. But one with recent problems with spinning and flying and a 6.5 to 245 pound painting that has suffered extensive punishment?
The injuries certainly contributed to Newton’s recent performance in the field, but the sharp decline in his numbers is worrying. Returning to a 52-21 loss in Pittsburgh on November 8, 2018, Newton lost eight consecutive matches. During that stretch, he went through nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a rating of 81.4 – although he did not exceed 72.1 in his five most recent appearances. His 4.36 yards per dash was almost a meter less than his career average.
(To be honest, it should be noted that Newton was still playing at the MVP-caliber level in the first half of 2018 and could have produced a career year if his shoulder had not been given up.)
3. The long history of patriots
New England’s last 423 games – a period dating back to Drew Bledsoe’s debut season in 1993 – were started by a home quarterback, easily the longest period of the Super Bowl era, according to ESPN.
Newton’s physical skills exceed Brady’s, and he is certainly a better player than names like Bledsoe, Matt Cassel, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. But, with the exception of Bledsoe, all these guys were acquired by Belichick and plunged into his system, not brought in as possible saviors from outside.
Newton – his career history is 68-55-1 (.552) – will have difficulty matching Belichick’s 0.688 percentage of wins (13-6 records) in games not started by Brady since 2008.
4. The path of the patriot
And then there is the question of how effectively Newton can subsume his ego in the midst of a culture in which the collective overcomes the individual.
Darrelle Revis, Stephon Gilmore, Corey Dillon and Randy Moss (for a time) are among those who have successfully assimilated at Foxborough. But other previously established stars – Chad Ochocinco, Reggie Wayne, Adalius Thomas and Michael Bennett – have failed to fit in, some struggling with culture.
The Panthers largely revolved around Newton for most of his term, sometimes making his peccadilloes possible. It remains to be seen how far a 31-year-old boy who enjoys the limelight and social media – descriptors that could also fit Brady – combines the turkey’s cold while also facing the learning curve that exists whenever someone joins in. a new team.
(And again, to be fair to Newton, it should be noted that fellow Carolina stars – Luke Kuechly and Christian McCaffrey among them – spoke publicly about him.)
5. The supporting cast
Presumably, the Patriots aren’t bringing Newton on board to execute the offense that Brady operated so successfully for two decades – and that’s a good thing, since you wouldn’t want to engage a largely timing-based attack on a 59-year-old guy, 6% career completion rate.
And yet, Brady’s last dance in New England was hampered by the lack of weapons at his disposal – an arsenal that remains largely unchanged, unless you’re expecting fights with newcomers Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene.
Sorry, Cam, but not McCaffrey, Greg Olsen or even a DJ Moore here. And given your lack of chemistry with guys like Julian Edelman and James White – who probably won’t arouse much fear without Brady – expect to see a lot of male spying coverage filling the box to make sure you’re not too far out of your pocket.
And with Sony Michel coming out of another surgery and devastating defender James Develin has retired, don’t assume that the Pats can catch and pass the ball through the opponent’s throat, as they did on the way to victory in the Super Bowl LIII a year ago.
6. Buffalo beads
With two trips to the playoffs in three seasons under the command of Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane, Bills appears to be the logical challenger to the divisional throne that New England has had almost without exception since 2001.
But if Buffalo’s highly underrated defense and upside offense are not enough to convince him that the Bills are on the verge of a breakthrough, consider McDermott and Beane spent 15 combined seasons in Carolina before their relocation in northern New York and they may have a few cheat codes on their sleeves – not to mention several former Panthers supporters – when it comes to stopping Newton.
Regardless, a good chance for Buffalo to take Pats to the wild card path that only led them to dead ends.
7. Defense of patriots
It’s easy to quote the New England D – he allowed the fewest yards and points in the league a year ago – as a reason why Newton doesn’t need to reprise his Superman personality for this team to succeed in 2020.
But don’t forget that Duron Harmon, Jamie Collins – both joined the Detroit Lions in the off-season – and Kyle Van Noy, now a Miami Dolphin, are gone. They teamed up for nearly 2,300 snaps of the regular season last year for a now very weak unit in the linebacker outside of Dont’a Hightower. Elandon Roberts and Danny Shelton, other constant contributors, also left.
None of this suggests that Belichick will not be able to mount a solid defense, just don’t expect it to approach last year’s stingy – which has kept the attack on so many competitions.
Only now does Newton join a team that Zoomed during the off-season, under the assumption that Stidham or Brian Hoyer – no player remotely resembles his new teammate – would be taking pictures in 2020.
Even though we believe Newton is as healthy as he believes, considering the exercises he is constantly publicizing on Instagram, the ongoing coronavirus scourge does not guarantee that he has a full training ground to familiarize himself with his coaches. , teammates, instruction manual or even living conditions in any way that leads to a smooth transition.
Players like Edelman and White had years to refine their roles as they got used to Brady. And that offensive line never had to explain the possibility that the subject under the center would simply take off after its first reading. To think that this attack is not going to blow together for weeks and probably months while a new engine is installed is probably crazy.
9. AFC heavyweights
After starting last season 8-0, despite their offensive limitations, the Patriots were hit by the harsh reality in Week 9, when the Ravens tied them 37 to 20 in Baltimore. Five weeks later, the Kansas City Chiefs, en route to the Super Bowl LIV title, prevailed at Gillette Stadium 23-16, on a night when Patrick Mahomes and a high-octane offense were only moderately effective.
Perhaps Belichick saw the future in the form of the dual threat MVP soon to be coined, Lamar Jackson, a younger and more dynamic version of Newton. Perhaps Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels are energized by a philosophical review of the offense, complete with wrinkles, perhaps just a team that this asset can potentially imagine. And maybe they think it’s time to take a different direction, instead of trying to get involved in a playoff track with Mahomes and Andy Reid.
Regardless, even though the Patriots led by Newton are better positioned to compete with the Bills, Colts, Texans and Titans – …