The eyes of the nation once more turned to New England in 2020, however not for the standard causes. Tom Brady left the New England Patriots, and the strain fell on Invoice Belichick to search out his successor. Belichick went with former MVP Cam Newton, signing him to a one-year deal. Cam Newton offered glorious management for a Patriots offense that lacked path, however New England missed the playoffs and had a shedding NFL report for the primary time since 2000.
Now, Newton is again. However this time, the Patriots appear decided to do it proper.
Cam Newton’s new alternative in New England
2020 wasn’t a banner yr for Cam Newton or the New England Patriots offense. The Patriots completed twenty seventh within the NFL in complete yards and thirtieth in passing yards. Newton accomplished 242 of 368 go makes an attempt for two,657 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
Newton’s passing stats are a bit deceptive, as he, actually, had 20 complete touchdowns, with 12 of them approaching the bottom. He additionally managed to run for 592 yards. However, the numbers don’t lie in regards to the Patriots’ passing sport. It wasn’t fairly.
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Newton himself gave the impression to be a step behind his MVP-caliber years with the Carolina Panthers.
He ranked thirty seventh in PFN’s Offensive Worth Metric on the QB place throughout the common season, between Jared Goff and Alex Smith.
Newton’s 2020 supporting solid
Nonetheless, the problems surrounding the New England offense might have centered extra round Newton’s weapons than Newton himself. Newton’s high receiver was former undrafted free agent Jakobi Meyers, who caught 59 passes for 729 yards. Subsequent up was Damiere Byrd, one other former UDFA who had by no means caught greater than 32 passes in a season since coming into the league in 2016.
Past missing constant threats at WR, Cam Newton additionally lacked a No. 1 tight finish. In his prime at Carolina, Newton gravitated towards the scale and toughness of Greg Olsen. Nonetheless, with out that steely goal up the center, he struggled. New England’s high tight finish in 2020 was Ryan Izzo, who caught 13 passes for 199 yards. Their two third-round rookies — Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene — totaled 5 catches and 55 yards.
Trey Wingo’s ideas on the Patriots’ 2021 season
PFN Chief NFL Analyst Trey Wingo just lately appeared on CBS Sports activities Radio’s “The Zach Gelb Present.” Throughout his look, the primary matter he mentioned was Cam Newton and the New England Patriots. Wingo appeared to indicate some sympathy for Newton and his 2020 exhibiting, emphasizing that 2020 was not a typical season. All NFL groups had been impacted, however the Patriots had been impacted greater than most.
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“Let’s discuss first about what Cam was and wasn’t final yr. There was no offseason, there was no minicamp, there was no OTAs, there was none of that. After which, as you mentioned, he didn’t have a bunch of weapons. And by the best way, early within the season, he did catch COVID. There have been many gamers I’ve talked to that had it, and so they had been like, ‘Yeah, I [got] over it, however I by no means felt like myself for a protracted, very long time. So there are 1,000,000 causes to take a look at 2020 Cam and New England and say we are able to most likely do higher.”
How do the Patriots’ weapons stack up in 2021?
The Patriots got here into the 2021 offseason needing extra high expertise at ability positions above all else. Whether or not the Patriots acquired top-end expertise at broad receiver in free company is up for debate, however the Patriots little doubt approached their want for weapons with added urgency within the first week of the brand new NFL yr. Wingo expressed this viewpoint in his current radio look, noticing the dichotomy between the Patriots’ 2020 and 2021 outlooks.
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“They went and bought two tight ends in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. They bought Nelson Agholor — and I get it, you’re hoping for the Raiders’ model of Nelson Agholor, not the Eagles’ model of Nelson Agholor. However I do suppose they’ve surrounded [Newton] with many extra weapons than they’d a yr in the past.
“I feel the Patriots realized that, all alongside, 2021 was going to be the yr they’d try to rebound. They’d a league-high eight gamers decide out, together with gamers like [Patrick] Chung and Dont’a Hightower. You carry most of these gamers again, together with two new tight ends and what I imagine goes to be a significantly better Cam Newton in 2021. I feel the Patriots are going to be a really fascinating crew to look at.”
Would the Patriots commerce up for a quarterback, even with Newton?
As a lot because the circumstances labored in opposition to Cam Newton in 2020, Trey Wingo reiterated throughout his radio look that the presence of Newton shouldn’t preclude the Patriots from making a transfer to pick out a quarterback within the 2021 NFL Draft.
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Wingo referenced the relative dearth of quarterback expertise coming in on a yearly foundation. The premise is straightforward — groups must be aggressive to get their long-term signal-callers as a result of the demand is all the time increased than provide. Wingo states that Invoice Belichick could be very conscious of that actuality.
“I feel he would [trade up for a QB]. All of the signings that you simply’ve seen point out they imagine they’re going to get their quarterback of the long run on this draft. We might probably have as many as six go within the first spherical, if Kellen Mond does actually discover his means into the primary spherical. It looks as if yearly, during the last six or seven years, we get increasingly of them, however the hit fee doesn’t actually change. Yearly, we discuss all these quarterbacks, however on the finish of the day, the outcomes don’t actually weigh out. It is a very troublesome factor, discovering the proper QB. It’s a really inexact science.”
How situational components impression the Patriots’ path ahead at quarterback
The QB equation is certainly an inexact science. It’s one thing New England has been capable of keep away from for 20 years. However now, they don’t have any instant solutions. Buying and selling up seems like a solution to discover a resolution, but it surely doesn’t assure success as Wingo states. And it’s simpler mentioned than executed.
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If the Patriots’ weapons had been set in stone for Cam Newton, this transfer could be safer to make. Nonetheless, the Patriots nonetheless want extra top-end expertise at receiver. Agholor confirmed promise as a deep menace in 2020, but it surely stays to be seen if he could be a constant menace from yr to yr.
How do the free company strikes affect the Patriots’ board?
Kendrick Bourne, in the meantime, feels extra like a supplementary menace who can present depth and safety. Even after paying nearly $25 million yearly on their receiving corps this offseason, the Patriots nonetheless lack confirmed dynamic expertise. These strikes would possibly present them with a little bit of safety within the NFL Draft, however they nonetheless shouldn’t accept what they’ve at receiver. It’s nonetheless very a lot in play in Spherical 1.
In the meantime, on protection, the Patriots might nonetheless add expertise on the primary and second ranges. Moreover, Stephon Gilmore’s long-term future is unsure at cornerback. Patrick Chung has retired, and plenty of of their different defensive backs are ageing as properly.
There are nonetheless fairly a couple of wants on the Patriots’ board. Buying and selling up for a quarterback is a safer transfer when a crew has comparatively fewer wants. Nonetheless, for New England, it might be a transfer that restricts their skill to help a rookie QB addition. There’s an opportunity Mac Jones is a little more attainable for New England, and that’s a transfer they need to take into account. Besides, they’ll have to preserve enhancing their supporting solid in the event that they need to maximize success at QB.
What ought to the Patriots do with quarterback Cam Newton?
Since Cam Newton is on a one-year deal, the Patriots have some flexibility. They don’t must decide to him for the long-term future. Nonetheless, in the event that they choose a quarterback in Spherical 1, it nearly ensures that they transfer on from Newton in 2022 to offer the rookie an opportunity to show himself.
In that situation, although, what if Newton performs higher with a greater supporting solid in 2021? You then probably use extra sources than obligatory at quarterback.
A secure transfer for New England could be to roll ahead with Newton, use early-round picks on including extra weapons, then draft a developmental quarterback like Davis Mills, Jamie Newman, or Kellen Mond on Day 2 or early Day 3. That means, the Patriots can decide to Newton within the short-term and provides him an opportunity to succeed with out prematurely tying their destiny to a rookie quarterback ready within the wings.
Cam Newton’s presence won’t have a lot of an impression on the Patriots’ long-term plans at QB. In the event that they nonetheless suppose they want an improve, the 2021 NFL Draft is nearly as good a spot as any to offer it a shot.
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