Cam Newton’s struggles last season were well-documented, as he finished near the bottom of the NFL in virtually every major category, including passer rating (82.9), passing yards (2,657), touchdown throws (eight), yards per attempt (7.2) and first downs (133).
For as unwatchable as Newton was at times last year, however, his shortcomings can be attributed to him signing late during an already-truncated offseason, testing positive for COVID-19 just as he was finding a groove under center and lackluster surrounding talent.
That figures to change in a big way this season. Not only has Belichick confirmed that the former MVP is “way ahead” of where he was at this point last offseason, but the Patriots overhauled their offensive personnel (especially at wide receiver and tight end).
Patriots fans should have a ton of confidence in Cam Newton.
In other words, Newton is out of excuses. If he underperforms again, it’ll be squarely on his shoulders. Not only that, but the Patriots will have a highly-talented backup waiting in the wings in Mac Jones if they feel compelled to pull the plug on Newton.
When the 31-year-old struggled last campaign, Belichick had no other choice but to keep trotting him out there, as his alternative options were Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer.
Assuming Jones’ rookie development is ahead of schedule, the Pats should have no qualms handing him the keys of the offense. Translation? Barring something truly unforeseen, New England will have two solid options at quarterback in 2021.