Patriots: Anonymous player blames Josh McDaniels for Cam Newton’s struggles
Let’s preface this by saying Cam Newton certainly isn’t blameless for what happened during his one season with the New England Patriots in 2020.
However, he pretty much had nothing in his favor, with the exception of a potent rushing attack. Shall we run through everything that kept him from maximizing his potential?
- He signed with the team in the second week of July
- There was a truncated offseason and no preseason
- He was learning an entirely new system and succeeding Tom Brady
- He missed two weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19
- He was armed with the worst tight end and wide receiving corps in the NFL
- A key security blanket in James White dealt with a trying year and missed time
- The offensive line lost key players to opt-outs and injuries
- The Patriots had one of the hardest schedules in the NFL
And, on top of that, when there’s a player who’s claiming offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels didn’t do a great job morphing the offense to better fit Newton’s skill set, you can’t help but think the odds were stacked against him for the entire year.
We’re not shocked by this latest development, either.
Here’s what NFL.com’s Michael Giardi wrote on the matter:
"“What was also mentioned by some was the belief that it was difficult to meld Josh McDaniels’ offense with Newton’s unique skill set. One player said viewing the game tape too often felt like watching the Brady offense with a few QB runs mixed in — and that, rather quickly, became too easy to decipher. (It should be noted that Cam’s 2020 completion percentage was better than Brady’s in either of the past two seasons.) Another player described it as a lack of connection between the offense and quarterback, juxtaposing New England’s handling of Newton against Buffalo’s approach with Josh Allen. The player lauded Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s strategic evolution over the past few years, from initially implementing week-to-week game plans to eventually just letting Allen do what he does best. ‘Here it is,’ the player said. ‘Stop it.'”"
We’re not taking this as gospel, but when you look at how the Pats offense lacked dynamism and there were hardly adjustments made (or at least ones obvious to the average fan) to cope with the lack of talent and Newton’s drastically different style of quarterbacking than Brady, it’s obvious that some of this falls on the coaching staff.
Did they not see what happened with Brady in 2019? He had no weapons at all, the offense needed a shot in the arm whether it be an acquisition at the trade deadline or a partial overhaul of the playbook, and the defense was incapable of carrying the team down the stretch.
Why would any of that change with Newton under center (who played in just two games in 2019 after undergoing shoulder surgery), a league-high eight players opting out of 2020, and zero upgrades at the skill positions?
Is there an argument that the Patriots need to move on from Newton and simply figure out their future plan? Sure. But you can’t sit here and tell us he doesn’t deserve a hypothetical second chance with a few offensive additions after all he went through this past season.