The New England Patriots‘ Cam Newton rarely gets much credit these days, but The Checkdown posted a video on social media Friday showing him at his best during the 2020 season.
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Newton and the Patriots are coming off a rough season, and it’s easy to forget the bright spots, which should also provide some optimism for the 2021 campaign.
The Checkdown dropped this as an in-case-you-missed-it-or-forgot post:
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) April 10, 2021
The first part of the clip comes from the Week 3 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Newton wasn’t spectacular in that game completing 17 of 28 passes for 162 yards, a TD, and an interception. However, he did run for 27 yards in the Patriots’ 36-20 win. The second portion of the highlight came from the Patriots’ Week 9 win over the New York Jets.
In that game, Newton completed 27 of 35 passes for 274 yards. Newton also scored two touchdowns on the ground in a 30-27 victory.
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Bill Belichick Banking on Newton in 2021
As of now, Newton, Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala are the only quarterbacks under contract for the Patriots. The team is expected to draft a quarterback later this month, but it’s hard to imagine anyone but Newton starting in 2021–at least early in the campaign.
Bill Belichick went to great lengths to shore up the Patriots roster on both sides of the ball. He signed four new pass catchers in Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. Belichick also solidified its offensive line by completing a trade to bring back Trent Brown, re-signing David Andrews, and bringing back Ted Karras.
With at least one more potential playmaker coming out of the draft, Newton and the Patriots should have more weapons in the passing game, and ample protection from the offensive line.
On defense, the once-depleted linebacker group has seemingly been fortified by the return of Dont’a Hightower, and the free-agent signings of Matthew Judon, Kyle Van Noy, and Raekwon McMillan. The defensive line has seen some upgrades too with the addition of Davon Godchaux, Henry Anderson and the re-signing of Lawrence Guy. You can see all of the Patriots’ offseason transactions here.
There is a lot to like about the Patriots roster this year, and Belichick is trusting Newton to guide this improved group to higher ground after a 7-9 finish in 2020.
Will Cam Newton Be Improved in 2021?
The smart answer to this question is yes. With a full training camp, or the closest thing to it during the pandemic, a second year in the Patriots’ system and more weapons, there is every reason to believe Newton will be improved.
Marcellus Wiley of Speak For Yourself says Newton “has been set up to succeed and he will succeed.”
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) April 9, 2021
If he doesn’t, there will be no one to blame. While Newton may not have circumstances as choice as Patrick Mahomes had in 2019, or Tom Brady in 2020, but there would appear to be enough in New England for the team to win the AFC East, and perhaps a little more.