Is it time to give up on Cam Newton?
You have no idea how badly I want to say yes to this question.
Sunday, after that brutal, morale-crushing loss to the Bills (the first in 4 years), I texted my friends telling them I was done with our new QB.
An overreaction? Nope. But, even still, with practically no hope to spare, I’m willing to give Cam another chance — it is not the time to give up on him just yet.
It is time, however, to start talking about how we build out the team for next year and beyond.
Yeah, being 2–5 hurts — we Pats fans aren’t used to this kind of despair. To think, if just three plays had different outcomes, we could be 5–2 right now instead, even with our atrocious roster.
Building a new offense from scratch takes time, and I argue it’s more the time we’re lacking rather than the talent (expect at wide receiver, because we STINK at that position).
The Patriots have shown signs this season that they’re still more than capable of being a playoff contender — their crappy record doesn’t reflect how close those losses to the Seahawks, Bills, and Broncos were, and how easily each could have ended in a different result.
They’ve also shown signs at times of being barely better than the New York Jets — this is where taking more time to build is really needed.
Yesterday’s game-ending fumble was heartbreaking, but the 2nd half at least offered a glimpse of what could be when the Patriots finally scored a touchdown and Cam was finally able to get into a throwing rhythm.
What I like about the Patriots Offense:
- When Cam is involved in the run game, not just on QB read-option plays. The designed QB powers/sweeps looked very effective in the 2nd half of the Bills game. The gut-wrenching fumble aside, getting Cam into the open field with lead blockers will almost always lead to at least a 5-yard gain.
- Play action throws that have been set up throughout the game such as the fake toss on the final drive which Cam threw for an easy 8 yards to Byrd. When Damien Harris and Cam Newton start to get positive run plays, this opens up Meyers and Byrd to get one on one coverage. (Which they still most likely won’t win these battles but it's their only chance at this point)
- Damien Harris. That’s really it honestly, Damien Harris looks like a dynamic runner and I don’t see him losing the starting job for the rest of the year barring an injury.
What I ABSOLUTELY hate about the Patriots Offense:
- Their sorry excuse of a receiving core. I’ve seen a more terrifying starting line up from my local high-school team, which had a whopping 100 students in my graduating class. In their defense, it’s not their fault that their coach has refused to spend the required cap space on a true number-one receiver. We have some decent role players, but when Tre White is lining up against Jakobi Meyers, it’s going to be a long day.
- Cam’s Newton throwing inconsistency and unfamiliarity with the playbook. I’ll give Cam a break on this one and say that learning a completely new offense while having no training camp and getting COVID might play a role in his slow start. Though on this point, a lot of Patriots fans will be less lenient about this one.
- Lastly, PLAYCALLING. Now again the same excuses can be made as above but some of the calls yesterday seemed like we were playing to lose. Not taking a shot at the endzone on 3rd and 1 with 12 seconds to go in the first half is just sad. Bill Belichick has more faith in Nick Folk….. NICK FOLK than the current offense. That’s just shameful. If you are 2–4 against a division rival, you should show a little heart. With that one play call, the Patriots coaching staff showed that they have less faith in their own offense than the rest of us do — not a great look.
This season needs a lot of help if it’s going to turn around for the Pats: Cam needs to begin to play consistently, the playcalling needs to improve drastically, the receiving core has got to either step up or pick up someone big in a trade, and the coaching staff really needs to put some trust in this offense.
It was very telling that the Patriots elected to hand the ball off on 3rd and 8 in the first quarter in a game that could have made or broken the whole season. So no, it’s not time yet for Patriots fans to give up on Cam Newton — but you could sure make a case that his own coaching staff did yesterday.