Whether you like it or not, things are going to look quite different when the 2020 NFL season kicks off. After spending two decades together, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have gone their separate ways. Philip Rivers has joined the Indianapolis Colts, and, as of Tuesday morning, Cam Newton is headed for free agency.
While it’s never easy to read between the lines and decipher a football coach’s press conferences, one thing seems clear: Bill Belichick, at least based on his past comments, is a fan of Cam Newton.
Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots need a new quarterback
While defense may win championships, modern NFL success starts with the man under center. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots may have had one of the best but, this season, things will be a bit different in Foxboro.
After a season of speculation, Tom Brady has headed south and linked up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While Belichick and Robert Kraft have said all the right things, it’s hard to imagine that they’re happy about their quarterback situation going into 2020.
Right now, the New England quarterback corps consists of Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham, and Cody Kessler. Hoyer knows the system but hasn’t started double-digit games in a season since 2014; Stidham spent his rookie year backing up Brady, while Kessler’s career resume only consists of 12 NFL starts. Belichick may be a master of slotting new players into a stable Patriots system, but this new reality will put his coaching to the test.
In the past, Bill Belichick has praised Cam Newton
As any NFL fan can tell you, Bill Belichick doesn’t like to reveal a great deal during his press conferences. In the past, however, he has praised Cam Newton.
“I think when you’re talking about mobile quarterbacks, guys that are tough to handle, tackle, can throw, run, make good decisions — I mean, I would put Newton at the top of the list. Not saying that there aren’t a lot of other good players that do that, but I would say, of all the guys we play or have played recently in the last couple of years, I would definitely put him — he’s the hardest guy to deal with,” Belichick explained in 2017.
“He makes good decisions, he can run, he’s strong, he’s hard to tackle. He can do a lot of different things, beat you in a lot of different ways. We saw that in the game down there in ‘13, so I would put him at the top of the list,” the Patriots head coach continued. “Not saying the other guys aren’t a problem, because they are, but he’s public enemy number one.”
Although public comments about other teams and players are always a mixed bag—a reporter asked Belichick a specific question about Newton and the coach wasn’t about to provide any bulletin board material—the answer seems pretty legit. The Patriots coach is a noted student of the game; it’s tough to imagine he’d say anyone was number one at anything without believing it.
Could Cam Newton really fit with the New England Patriots
According to Adam Schefter, the New England Patriots front office didn’t identify Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, or any other available quarterback as being worth the investment it would take to acquire them. Now that the former Carolina Panther is a free agent, however, things could be different.
If Cam Newton is willing to take a team-friendly deal, he’d automatically be the best quarterback on the Patriots roster. While there are obviously questions about his health, it’s hard to imagine that New England wouldn’t at least do their due diligence.
At the end of the day, however, there are still plenty of unknowns. Will Cam’s foot ba a long term issue? What sort of contract will he be looking for in free agency? How much faith do the Patriots really have in Hoyer, Stidham, and Kessler? While we might not find out those answers anytime soon, it does seem like Bill Belichick is a fan of Cam Newton; that, in of itself, might help bring the quarterback north to New England.