Cam Newton’s debut with the New England Patriots was a resounding success on Sunday. He finished the game 15-for-19 for 155 yards, but really made his mark on the ground, leading the team with 75 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
There are still questions about the Patriots’ passing attack as a whole. Newton was accurate and efficient, but there weren’t a ton of big plays to be had. New England wasn’t the only franchise for which this was an issue, coming out of a hectic and abbreviated offseason.
The reliance on Newton’s legs has raised questions. The former Carolina Panthers quarterback is a physical specimen, but he’s been hampered by injury for a few years now. 15 carries is a good chunk for a quarterback, even one as used to playing as physically as Cam is. He has downplayed any concerns about taking a beating this year.
“I’m good, I think I missed this victoriously sore feeling, but other than that, good to go,” Newton joked during an appearance on The Greg Hill Show on WEEI, per the Boston Globe. “…We won, so that means I’m not hurt anymore.”
— The Greg Hill Show (@TheGregHillShow) September 14, 2020
After the New England Patriots’ 21-11 win, Cam Newton looked a bit hobbled, and there was some word that he might’ve suffered a minor hamstring injury. He shut down those rumors during the interview, saying he didn’t know where those reports came from.
It sounds like Newton is not planning to change how he plays, and isn’t concerned about wear and tear. He believes he’s smarter about running the ball now, at 31, than he was earlier in his career.
“I just feeling like that’s just how my running style has kind of morphed over the years,” said Newton. “I just feel like I’ve gotten better at it. From the time that I got into the league until the time now, people always see the running amount, but at the same time, the toll on the runner is not always the same as a running back, so to speak.
“I think quarterbacks all alike have this invisible role to be able to get down in the open field, because they don’t have to finish the run as other positions would like to do,” Newton added. “So either I’m the hammer and not the anvil, delivering the blow, or at the end of the day I can get down and, like they all say, live to fight another day.
“That’s just been me,” said Newton in response. “Every year, a new discussion comes up about it’s not smart to run, it’s not smart to do this or that, but at the end of the day, I just feel like whatever is a necessary way we have to go about winning a football game, that’s what you have to do. Me being an ultimate competitor, if I’m asked to block, I’m just going to do that. If I’m asked to run a route, I’m going to go do it.
Replacing a legend like Tom Brady was always going to be different, but having a player as accomplished, confident, and frankly, stylistically different in Cam Newton may make the task just a bit easier for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
The team is back in action on Sunday night, facing the Seattle Seahawks on the road.