Alex Rollins from Niners Nation took to the film room this week to dissect the newest member of the New England Patriots, quarterback Cam Newton. The 31-year-old may not have been his best recently, but his upside in the Patriots’ system is intriguing as Alex explains:
The New England Patriots dynasty is finally at a crossroads, after you-know-who left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The quarterback position was for the first time in 20 years a massive question mark — that is until the Patriots did Patriots things and signed Cam Newton for less money than Nathan Peterman. Cam’s coming off back-to-back injury-riddled seasons and has a lot to prove: before as good as he was at his peak, his inconsistency has been just as frustrating.
The Patriots need Cam and Cam needs the Patriots, but his style seems so different than Tom Brady’s. The question now is, how do Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels design the most efficient offensive system possible to maximize Cam’s strengths and to minimize his weaknesses? The answers might surprise you: Cam’s strengths and Brady’s strengths are not that different.
Through the first five years of Cam’s career, he was defined by his rushing ability and a powerful throwing arm. The Panthers designed their offensive philosophy and passing attack around that ability to throw the ball deep, surrounding him with bigger, slower receivers — like Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess — who can win contested catches downfield. Cam’s average depth of target was consistently near the top of the league.
But after two disappointing seasons following their Super Bowl defeat, the Panthers realized they had Cam all wrong: his passing strengths don’t rest in the ability to rip the ball downfield but to play the position similar to Tom Brady.
Cam is a perfect fit for the Patriots, who will redesign crucial aspects of their offense to maximize his strengths. He provides them with a skillset that is surprisingly similar to Brady’s as well as abilities the Patriots have never had before. And when you mix that talent with a laser-sharp focus and a burning passion for redemption you get the return of Superman.
If you have any questions, please reach out to @AlexRollinsNFL on Twitter.