Cam Newton spoke to the media about being benched during the Patriots’ loss to the 49ers.
The last two Sundays have been the ugliest for the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick and it’s no surprise people are saying fans were way too quick to jump the gun in declaring Cam Newton the seamless successor to Tom Brady. Though this version of the Pats is dealing with a lot more adversity, the QB play has been a problem.
Everyone knows Newton has no weapons and the constant shakeup along the offensive line isn’t helping, but across the last two games, he’s 26-of-40 with 245 yards and five interceptions. That just … cannot happen.
And Bill Belichick sent a message of sorts when he benched Newton in the fourth quarter on Sunday in favor of Jarrett Stidham. The 33-6 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers was the worst under Belichick. Something had to be done. Here’s what Newton had to say about the coach’s decision.
That’s a strong response from Newton, who is well aware of his performance, the team’s performance, and the potential consequences of continued poor play. If anybody has an excuse, however, it’s the former MVP, who is still learning a new offense, was shelved after testing positive for COVID-19, and arguably has the worst receiving corps in the NFL.
Nonetheless, Patriots fans couldn’t have asked for a better personality to lead the team because it’s clear Newton is as humble as can be. He’s not excusing himself from the unusual circumstances and he’s going to hold himself accountable as long as the Patriots aren’t winning.
The good news? He’s still the starter, according to Belichick, who also spoke to the media on Monday. That’s a no-brainer, because Stidham has now come on in relief twice this year and has looked like a practice squad QB both times. There’s no chance he’ll be sniffing starting snaps unless there’s a major injury.
We’ve seen what Newton was capable of across the team’s first three games, but now the extra pressure of the Patriots being in this unforeseen hole isn’t helping his rebound after the COVID-19 diagnosis. Plus, New England’s schedule isn’t getting any easier.
While Newton will be tasked with a lot in the coming weeks, we cannot deny the coaching staff should be feeling similar heat given how bad the team has looked on both sides of the ball.