By Tony Softli
A lot of hoopla and fan fair with the New England Patriots signing of Cam Newton this week. The dual threat QB built like a defensive end 6’5-245 with movement skills that of a fast TE, will bring a much needed and different prospectus to the Patriots with the departure of future Pro Football Hall of Famer Tom Brady now with Tampa Bay. Newton signed a 1 year incentive laden deal, language within the contract will allow the Patriots to Franchise Tag him after the 2020 season.
The NFL’s 2015 MVP has a chip on his shoulder, thanks to Carolina Panthers total disrespect in the late release from the team. He will be extremely hungry and motivated to prove to himself that he can still play at a high level and show the doubters wrong.
Cam has a rock solid NFL foundation and resume since winning the Heisman at Auburn to last year despite battling multiple injuries the last few seasons;
- 3× Pro Bowl (2011, 2013, 2015)
- First-team All-Pro (2015)
- NFL Most Valuable Player (2015)
- NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2015)
- Bert Bell Award (2015)
- Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year (2011)
- NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (2011)
- PFWA All-Rookie Team (2011)
- 2× BCS national champion (2008, 2010)
- 2× SEC champion (2008, 2010)
- Heisman Trophy (2010)
- Maxwell Award (2010)
- Walter Camp Award (2010)
- Davey O’Brien Award (2010)
- AP College Player of the Year (2010)
- Sporting News College Player of the Year (2010)
- Consensus All-American (2010)
- First-team All-SEC (2010)
Passing Yards: 29,041
Completion %: 59.6
Passer Rating: 86.1
Rushing Yards: 4,806
Rushing Touchdowns: 58
With all that said Im going to pump the brakes on the signing of Cam Newton as the successor to Tom Brady. Im not comparing resumes with Brady clearly winning that category or the more obvious in styles, pocket passer vs dual threat. No body is questioning his love for the game!
Can he fall in line and be a good solider and stay in step with the Belichick way? Will he walk into that locker room and be a leader of 53 men and not a distraction? He must be the first in and the last to leave!
I guarantee Coach Belichick did his research on Cam with former Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner. They wanted to know who he is as a person, leadership skills, learning and retention issues if any, what makes him tick and his mind set in December as they head down the back stretch can he will his team to victories headed for the ultimate goal, Super Bowl.
My worries are Cam’s injury history, despite the rushing production and touchdowns there is a lot of tread off the tires. The other is his spotty accuracy and completion percentage of 59.6 which is comparable to several back-ups in the NFL. He is not the same player five years ago.
I get the move when you study the Patriots depth at QB. They didn’t scare any of the thirty-one other teams until Cam was signed, I like second year pro Jarrett Stidham on the little tape i’ve seen from last year and his days at Auburn, Brian Hoyer is a seasoned vet that can win some games for you but not a championship.
Im sure Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels is licking his chops on designing red zone and goal line formations for Cam to run through and jump over. No matter who the QB, the offense is slight of weapons. Edelman is long in the tooth but still demands respect and will be the safety valve, Sanu and Harry are talented receivers in their own right, but is that enough? Running backs Michel and White are very good runners with natural receiving skills, that will aid in relief. The offensive line is rock solid if they can stay healthy. The outstanding and talented defense is in place, as is their special teams units.
The Brady vs Belichick race is on, who can win a Super Bowl first without the other. If I was a betting man, my money is on the future Hall a Fame Coach.
Stat data provided by NFL.com