Cam Newton’s 2020 season was not pretty. Learn the New England Patriots’ offense on the fly and playing with a below-average supporting cast, he posted some disappointing numbers and quarterbacked one of the least efficient passing attacks in football.
Add the fact that he was coming off back-to-back injury-riddled seasons, joined the organization late, and also had to miss time after testing positive for the Coronavirus, and you get what throwing guru Tom House called “perfect storm in the wrong direction.”
House recently appeared on NBC Sports’ Patriots Talk podcast, and spoke about Newton’s mechanics and the challenges he faced last year. For house, one factor in particular contributed to Newton’s at times sloppy-looking throws.
“What people don’t realize is Cam has been injured, and he hasn’t had the ability to work on mechanics like he should or could have because his health was an issue,” he said. “What you saw last year with the pandemic and all the upheaval and all the weird things that were going on with the day-to-day process, he probably didn’t have the time — or, what I would say, his efforts had to be direction towards just plain competing.”
House certainly knows a thing or two about throwing a ball. A former MLB pitcher, he later went into coaching both baseball and football players on a private basis. Among his clients are long-time Patriots starting quarterback Tom Brady, as well as fellow future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.
When it comes to Newton, meanwhile, House feels confident he will bounce back from a mechanical perspective another year removed from his injury woes.
“Cam is a great athlete,” he said. “I got to know him a little bit when he was working on his shoulder rehab. There’s nothing he can’t do. You’ve seen him, he’s a physical specimen. And he’s still in his skill acquisition window. So, I’m going to assume that the people there can help him with his throwing mechanics. If not, he has a great agent that can find help.
“But Cam will throw the football better this year than he did last year. He was in a reframing, a repattering mode during the Covid stuff, and because of all the weird, unpredictable things wasn’t able to focus on mechanics as much as he should. But don’t bet against him, because he’s physically one of the best athletes that have ever been around.”
While not working as closely with him as with Brady, for example, House did spend some time with Newton in the past. He helped the former Carolina Panthers QB rehab after shoulder surgery in March 2017.
From that point on, however, Newton’s injuries started to pile up.
While not listed on an injury report until mid-December, he later acknowledged that he was hampered by his shoulder over the second half of the season. The Panthers eventually declared him a game-day inactive for the final two games of their regular 2018 season, effectively ending his campaign even without placing him on injured reserve. Newton underwent offseason surgery and had to sit out Carolina’s spring practices as a result.
While he did return in time for training camp and the regular season, he played just nine games before being shut down for the remainder of the year. Newton suffered what was later revealed to be a Lisfranc fracture and after his recovery went slower than expected was sent to injured reserve.
“I think his foot injury bothered him more than his shoulder issue. These athletes throw with their feet, and the quicker their feet the quicker the release. He went through a full year where he couldn’t step and throw without pain in his foot,” House said about Newton’s injury woes while also offering an encouraging outlook.
“He competed on an elite level on probably 80 percent of mechanical efficiency. But, it’s in there. His nervous system and his muscles work together as good as any athlete I’ve ever been around. It’s just a matter of getting through the injury, back to where he’s rehabbed himself to where his body can produce like it’s capable when he’s healthy.”