Bill Belichick cut Cam Newton in favor of Mac Jones. Would it be cool to know every painstaking detail that went into making this decision? Sure! I’d love for Belichick to sit us all down and go through his thought process like a bedtime story and end it with “and the Dynasty lives happily ever after” but that’s not realistic. As the old mantra goes, “A magician never reveals his secrets” and Belichick is the David Copperfield of the NFL. While he doesn’t pull off every trick he attempts, his success rate speaks for itself. I say that to say this: Bill Belichick doesn’t owe you anything.
‘Blind loyalty’ is a phrase that gets thrown around by pessimistic fans when optimistic ones say they still believe in their team following a polarizing move. And while you may call it that, I call it ‘Believing in a coach who has given you every reason to do so’. Or, to make it less wordy and more catchy, In Bill We Trust. That’s a saying Patriots fans were saying with pride before Tom Brady left. And since then, Belichick has been overly criticized for almost every move he makes by the same fans who used to laugh off that same type of criticism.
But I’m going off on a bit of a tangent there. Back to my main point. Bill Belichick doesn’t owe you, or me, anything. I say that because following the surprising cut of Cam, fans and media members across New England think they’re owed some 10 paragraph press release detailing why he did what he did. Newsflash: that’s not how Bill has ever done business. But after watching his press conference Wednesday, you’d think that’s how Bill operates.
Multiple questions trying to pry any modicum of reasoning as to why Mac Jones is under center and Cam Newton is thumbing drivers on the freeway holding a “Will Throw The Football For Employment” sign. **That sounded harsh but it was strictly done for the metaphor. Cam will be fine.**
Let me ask you a question, how many times have you heard Belichick say he’s going to do what’s best for the team? You can probably hear him saying it in your head right now. I understand wanting to know exactly why he made this move, but he’s already giving you the answer a hundred times. I can even understand asking him multiple times for some sort of clarification, but what I don’t get is getting upset or confused when he doesn’t give you much at all.
Was there thought to keeping Cam Newton as the backup QB?
Belichick: "I'm not going to go through all the different things with any player on that."
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) September 1, 2021
Question: Was Cam Newton’s vaccination status a factor in his release?
Bill Belichick: “No. Look, you guys keep talking about that …” pic.twitter.com/JPGsUghVVK
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 1, 2021
Asked Bill Belichick if Cam Newton could have stuck around as a backup: "I am not going to go thru all the different things with any player on that." Asked him if it was a hard decision. Said he wouldn't rate them. (That answer didn't make any sense). #Patriots
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) September 1, 2021
Belichick seems hell-bent on giving absolutely zero insight into why he selected Mac Jones as the starting QB, and released Cam Newton.
I don't get it. And no flowery sendoff for Newton, either.
This is weird, even for the Patriots.
— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard) September 1, 2021
Gotta say, I didn't see that press conference coming from Bill Belichick. Even for the #Patriots, no sendoff for Cam Newton or something of any substance on why Mac is the starter is odd.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) September 1, 2021
But he didn’t say that. Belichick gave one answer about what he likes about Mac that was solid. But dodged every Cam question and went out of his way to speak on vaccine efficacy.
A simple “we did what was best for the team” would be typical Belichick. This was not that. https://t.co/PmVDpZAF0s
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) September 1, 2021
These reporters sit in the room with Belichick dozens of times a year. They get the same type of responses every single year. But yet they continue to, not only ask the same questions over and over, but get in their feelings when they don’t get a descriptive answer. Do they not know who Belichick is? Yes, he’s gone into detail over moves here and there, but those times are few and far between. Bill likes to deflect and tone down the noise, not feed into it. He did everything we all should have expected him to do during that press conference.
But those are reporters. They get big bucks to act that way. My issue is with the fans. And more specifically, the section of fans that will criticize this move, and then call back to it every time Mac makes a mistake and say “SEE! You gave up Cam for THIS!?”. It brings me back to what I said earlier, In Bill We Trust. Or as these fans would call it, ‘Blind Loyalty’.
Like everyone else, I was surprised that this move happened. While I wasn’t necessarily surprised that Mac was named the starter, I was taken aback by the Cam cutting. Of course its your first instinct to question the move, but then you have to think about it logically. Follow me here: Cam Newton has said he doesn’t want to be a backup, so it makes sense. See? It’s that easy. Belichick clearly has an affinity for Newton, something he’s said numerous times, so he likely wanted to give him as much time as possible to hop onto another team and fight for their starting QB position. Can you picture Cam Newton holding a clipboard on the sideline? Me neither. He’s a starter.
And even if you don’t believe that, how about this one. Do you think Cam Newton as a backup would be detrimental in any way to Mac’s development? Not necessarily because of anything Cam would do, but more so what the fan base would do. When you have a well liked QB as a backup, once the starter starts to slip (which rookies do here and there), the outcry to put the backup in grows. And with Cam being as likeable as he is, there’s no way that wasn’t going to happen here. You simply can’t have a ‘celebrity’ as the backup. It’s a distraction to the QB and the fans. Edelman said as much earlier this week:
Julian Edelman hit the nail on the head on why the #Patriots opted to release Cam rather than keep him as a backup. Cam’s presence on the roster presents a potential distraction the second Mac plays a bad game, “why not put Cam in?” Cam is too big of a star to back up a rookie. pic.twitter.com/XVALjplnoV
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) September 2, 2021
Final Thoughts on Bill Belichick and Cam Newton
You guys may not trust Belichick, but last time I checked, we all would trust Edelman with our lives. If he has this opinion, you think Belichick wasn’t thinking along these same lines? He knows a rookie QB needs some nurturing. And while the Patriots are good at deflecting outside distractions, it’s tough to mitigate a distraction when he’s right behind you on the depth chart. Mac’s best pathway for success is one where Cam Newton isn’t around.
At the end of the day, Bill Belichick did what he always does. He made a decision that he thinks is best for the team. That’s the bottom line, no-frills respond to “why did he release Cam!?”. I know many of you may want some dissertation, single spaced, front and back as to why he made this choice, but you won’t get one. And that’s okay. In Bill We Trust.
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