Patriots QB Cam Newton will enter the first legitimate position battle of his NFL career.
Is Cam Newton really up for a quarterback position battle with the New England Patriots?
Ever since Newton entered the league as the first overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, he never once had any real competition for the starting job during his nine years with the Carolina Panthers.
That’s definitely not how the cookie crumbles here in New England, where nothing is ever guaranteed. For the first time in his career, Newton will be up against two quarterbacks, both of whom are capable of starting for the Patriots this upcoming season in Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer.
Last year as a rookie, Stidham beat out Hoyer for the backup job behind Tom Brady. Although Newton blows Hoyer out of the water in terms of talent, who’s to say that Stidham won’t rise to the occasion and become the starter Week 1?
After all, Stidham spent a majority of the offseason as the presumed QB1 for the Patriots — he’s not going to walk away without a fight. In fact, dating back to his college years at Baylor and Auburn, Stidham has always come out victorious in position battles.
Jarrett Stidham has a legitimate case to beat out Cam Newton for the starting job.
Even though Newton is more athletically talented, Stidham still has the upper hand in a number of other ways. He’s built up chemistry with the younger receivers on the team and even grew up playing youth football with running back Damien Harris.
Furthermore, Stidham has been in the playbook, working with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for over a year now. Heading into his second season, Stidham has a better understanding of the plays, verbiage, and expectations than Newton and even Hoyer, who is going on his third stint with the Patriots.
Knowing all of this, it’s extremely difficult to predict if Newton is going to be able to pick up the offense well enough to have a significant edge over these guys. It’s also unknown how Newton will react and handle the situation if he’s asked to be the backup to at least start the season.
After his Super Bowl 50 loss, Newton made a comment about being a “sore loser” that has since resurfaced after he signed with the Pats, once discussions about him potentially not being the starter right out of the gate began to circulate.
Although nobody enjoys losing, being a sore loser will not fly on a Bill Belichick-led football team. The “Do Your Job” philosophy in New England won’t be changing anytime soon. Sure, Brady had his moments of being a poor sport on occasion, but he would never admit to being a sore loser, especially after a Super Bowl.
Regardless of landing in a goldmine like New England, nothing will be handed to the former MVP. Will Newton ask for his release if he’s asked to start the year as a backup? Who knows, but it’s possible and we can’t rule it out.
The question doesn’t end at whether or not Newton is up for the competitive challenge of a position battle during camp… it’s can he endure that for an entire season? Will he be able to deal with that?
I don’t think so.
He’s sounded off on many things in Carolina, so what makes us think that won’t happen in New England? While with the Panthers, he exploded about the slow play calling and the coaching staff at times, and let’s not forget the way he disrespected a female reporter when he questioned her understanding of route running during a press conference in which he tried to make into a joke (which lost him some sponsors).
None of these are Patriot-like characteristics.
Let’s hope that Newton being in a successful environment that the New England Patriots have to offer will prove all of my doubts wrong about the former MVP. After all, we’d love to see him lead the team to a record seventh Super Bowl, right?