Cam Newton is heading into his second campaign with the New England Patriots facing plenty of questions. The Patriots have amped up those doubts by not yet announcing the starting quarterback for the 2021 season. Meanwhile, Newton received another stern reminder from an opposing player of the potential big problem that may lie ahead.
Patriots still haven’t confirmed Cam Newton as the starter
Since the Patriots inked Newton under another one-year contract, the expectation is that he will begin the 2021 campaign as the starter.
However, head coach Bill Belichick has yet to officially name a starter despite Week 1 action being less than a month away. Newton’s status atop the quarterback depth chart isn’t entirely in question, but it does speak to the team not being completely convinced he’s the clear-cut starter.
“No. You know he hasn’t said that. So for you to just ask that question, you know, it is what it is,” Newton said of the starting quarterback job via ESPN. “Every single day, I’m coming out here with the anticipation to just get better, and that’s the only thing that I can do. So I can control that.”
Rookie Mac Jones is making an ever-growing strong impression on the coaching staff and his teammates. Belichick will likely not throw Jones into the fire as the starter from the get-go, but it does show that Newton may be on borrowed time in New England if his one-year contract didn’t already prove that.
With the 2021 season inches closer, the 32-year-old may have gotten another dose of reality concerning his playmaking ability as he enters his 11th season.
Cam Newton’s brutal two-word nickname from an Eagles player underlines a potential big issue for the Patriots
As Newton moves through his first full offseason with the Patriots, it’s come with much scrutiny.
The three-time Pro Bowler is coming off a lackluster 2020 campaign that featured struggles to throw the ball. Much of this came due to the lack of physical comfort after undergoing shoulder surgery after the 2019 season. Nonetheless, his shortcomings last year have placed a label on him due to his tendency for short passes.
During a joint practice against the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday, Eagles defensive back K’Von Wallace yet at Newton “Checkdown King!'” before a play during a 7-on-7 drill after back-to-back passes to running backs. On the next play, Wallace reportedly yelled “running back!” to which Newton followed it by passing to teammate James White in the flat.
Although it’s a small sequence during a practice session, it does demonstrate that other players around the league believe Newton has become significantly dependent on short throws. That said, there are multiple videos of him in practice throwing accurate deep passes.
It’s a stigma that will stick around him as he enters his second campaign In New England.
Mac Jones remains the Patriots’ future under center
The underlying factor is that Jones sits waiting in the wings as the eventual starter.
It marked the first time Belichick selected a quarterback in the first round during his tenure in New England. Jones is viewed as the future, while Newton is playing for beyond this season as another porous showing could mark the end of him holding the reputation as a starting quarterback.
All that places plenty of pressure on his shoulders to not only stave off Jones but prove he can lead the Patriots to success in 2021. If not, his second year in New England could feature a disappointing close.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.