The 2020 NFL season is already into week 8 and the season is throwing curve balls all over the place! With the Steelers a smooth 6-0 for the season, it’s a shock we see our New England Patriots at 2-4. Is this a time to panic or to pull the plug on the Cam Newton project?
Starting Out with a Bang!
Cam Newton. MVP Quarterback. Poised to take the role of starting QB left by the departure of Tom Brady. Cam signed a simple 1 year deal that can make the former MVP close to 7.5 million for the year. He battled for the starting job from second year QB Jarret Stidham, and veteran QB Brian Hoyer. Hoyer is on his 3rd stint with the team and does bring veteran depth.
The season was looking solid, with Cam winning the starting job and heading to Miami in the first game of the year. New England even surprised Miami with a solid run heavy offense. This scheme is new to the Patriots, since they were more of a pass heavy team for the last 20 years. They won the first game 21-11, and showed new life to the season.
Now to say that they haven’t had a challenge is false. The Patriots in week 2 now took on Seattle, which the battle of two QB’s would come into play. Newton against Wilson. This would be the test that would show the leadership of Newton running the New England Offense. Although it was a tough loss, Newton came out throwing against a hard fought Seattle defense. Cam tossed for almost 400 years in that game, and was 30-44 with 1 TD and 1 INT showing that his MVP caliber days are there for display. This may be a positive outlook for the 2020 season. Or so we thought…
Starting to Dwindle
In week 3 against the Las Vegas Raiders it wasn’t Cam’s display that was shown, it was the running prowess of Sony Michel and the weakness of the Raiders run defense. Michel tossed up 117 yards on the ground over 9 carries. Cam tossed 162 yards, going 17-28 with a TD and another INT. The Patriots pulled in the win even with Vegas making some key mistakes.
Then the bad news happened. Before week 4 Cam Newton tested positive for Covid 19. This coming off the biggest test that he would face. The Kansas City Chiefs. Cam would have to sit out the game and the Patriots would have to go under testing and safety protocols. After multiple negative tests for the team, and the game rescheduled to Monday Oct 5th, the AFC matchup would take place. The Patriots started veteran QB Brian Hoyer in place of the out Cam Newton. Hoyer did not have a bad first half, yet his biggest blunder was at the end of the half not throwing the ball away and taking a sack. This would have allowed a field goal for the Patriots and tying the game at 6 before the half.
With the second half the Patriots chose Jarret Stidham to take over for Hoyer. Although Stidham did toss a touchdown pass, he tossed 2 INT, one for a pick 6 to make the game in m eyes out of reach for the Patriots, and they dropped the game 26-10.
All Downhill from Here…..
Following the Chiefs loss, the Patriots were given even more bad news as Stephon Gilmore was also diagnosed with Covid 19. The Defensive Player of the Year for 2019 would not miss a game, as he tested negative before practice and New England having a BYE week for week 6. This was good news, however the bad news was around the corner. Cam Newton was back under center for the Patriots and it felt like a mixture of Hoyer and Stidham. 2 INT’s and 2 fumbles for Newton, with both fumbles being recovered. All while tossing under 200 yards passing. These are not the games you want to see, especially New England losing to the broncos.
Now week 7. This so far of this roller coaster season is where it gets grim. The Patriots take a devastating loss to the 49ers. Devastating? nah. Annihilated in a pathetic fashion? Yep. Final score was 33-6. You read that right. 33-6. Where was Cam? Out to lunch? Out of body? Maybe. Cam had 3 INT’s before the 3rd quarter ended. What’s worse (yes I said worse) is Cam didn’t even have 100 yards passing in the game. He did have over 100 yards passing and rushing. But this game was just total destruction. Where do you go to? Good question…..
To say that this 2-4 Patriots team is a loss may be true, yet the season isn’t over and there’s still some games to be played. I mean, if you look at the NFC East, the Patriots would still be in contention! There can be positives within the remaining season, and it has to start this week. The Buffalo Bills are a red hot team, and can give the Patriots a run for their money. Yet if the defense plays as they did in Kansas City, and Newton can have a game as he did in the first 3 weeks then we may have a fighting chance.
Yet I’m still not certain Cam is the proper fit here in New England. and I’m far from ok with giving the reigns of the kingdom to Stidham the Interception machine. And if you think me saying that would have me point to Brian Hoyer, you are very wrong. I would have loved for a Jimmy Garoppolo run New England team. He’s been showing he can get the job done in San Fran. But then again, Kyle Shanahan is no Bill Belichick. Only time will tell where this monster is going.
My thought here is this. Cam Newton was a great QB. Was. I can see him still being great, and holding it down. Yet i think distraction and other headaches come to play. Especially where he just sees this as a business transaction. Great. Get yourself built back up and get your money. Thats what I see in that comment. Cam does carry himself well though with reporters and interviews when it’s bad. He takes ownership and responsibility when necessary and doesn’t throw his team or teammates under the bus. Yet again, he’s no Tom Brady.
If I’m looking beyond this season, I’m saying the Cam Newton project is a bust. Besides the Newton project, the Jarret Stidham babysitters club is also needing to go. Along with the should be retired Hoyer. Or maybe it’s not them. Maybe Josh McDaniels doesn’t have it anymore. Maybe Bill Belichick doesn’t have the magic he once had. These could be hypotheticals. Or these could be the beginning of the end of the Patriots being a dominant team. I’d like to think positive, yet the last 2 games do have me worried that this formula isn’t working. But lets see what happens Sunday. It’ll be a tough road ahead.
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