Patriots QB Cam Newton still learning the offense proves nobody was capable of succeeding Tom Brady in 2020.
It goes without saying that Cam Newton’s debut season with the New England Patriots has been a roller coaster. He started off the year exceptionally well, helping the team jump out to a 2-1 start — that would’ve been 3-0 had Seattle not blown up his game-winning carry at the goal line as time expired in Week 2 — before he hit a wall following a bout with COVID-19.
Since then, there’s been no predicting what version of Newton we’ll see on a weekly basis, and this inconsistency has drawn the ire of fans who really haven’t given him the benefit of the doubt in terms of considering the circumstances he’s had to overcome.
Having less than two months between his signing and the start of the regular season to get accustomed to an entirely new playbook clearly falls under that category, and Newton admitted during his latest media session that he’s still learning the Patriots’ offense.
"“Honestly, I think what drives me is knowing that I have yet to play my best football,” Newton told reporters. “Do I know certain things? Yes. Do you know how people are going to play you? No. And this game, I have always said it, it comes down to reacting and when that play is called – when Josh [McDaniels] gives the play call – that 40 seconds that you have to call the play, it really comes down to how do you react faster than the defense to executing.“With that being said, as far as adversity, as far as success, as far as what my expectation is, it never will change. I know that I don’t know enough and there’s also a side of me where I can say I came a long way in this system, but I am still learning.”"
If this doesn’t prove that no quarterback was capable of succeeding Tom Brady this season, then nothing does. The three-time MVP always caught heat about being a product of the Patriots’ system, but perhaps his haters should give him more credit for mastering it to the extent he did.
That was obviously bound to happen after a two-decade run in New England, but let’s not be quick to forget that the playbook didn’t become second nature to Brady overnight. With wide receiver Julian Edelman being the only offensive player left from the dynasty to help guide his transition, are we really surprised that Newton is still adjusting?
This isn’t to say that Newton still learning the offense is an excuse for his paltry performance last Sunday vs Arizona, but before you draw a conclusion about what he has left in the tank or whether the Patriots should bring him back in 2021, just remember that he only had training camp (and no preseason) to work through the growing pains.
Newton’s the definition of a professional. He’s dedicated to the game and is a former MVP and Heisman Trophy winner. If he’s been unable to pick up the offense in five months, then there’s a good chance almost nobody else would be able to.