Stephen A. Smith went off on the idea Cam Newton won’t start right away in New England

Count Stephen A. Smith in the group of people that insist Cam Netwon needs to start for the Patriots. He thinks anyone who disagrees should be drug tested.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Stephen A. Smith has a strong opinion on what Cam Newton’s role with the Patriots should be in 2020. The ESPN personality insists that the idea of Jarrett Stidham starting over the former NFL MVP is ludicrous.

Smith went so far as to call colleague Louis Riddick “insane” for suggesting that Newton should start the season as Stidham’s backup. Moreover, he intimated that anyone who believed Newton should start the year on the bench should receive drug testing.

While Newton is certainly the more talented of the two quarterbacks, it’s fair to point out that Stidham has much more experience in Bill Belichick’s offensive system. The terminology between Carolina’s previous coaching staff and what’s utilized in New England is vastly different. The lack of a normal preseason may make it difficult for Newton to master the Patriots offense before Week 1 arrives.

With that being said, if Newton is healthy when the regular season begins it’s hard to imagine him spending much time on the bench. He’s a vastly superior athlete compared to Stidham. Newton’s ability to threaten opposing defenses with his arm strength and his mobility will add a much-needed extra dimension to the Patriots’ attack. The idea that Stidham can hold him off for any significant stretch of time is unconventional, to say the least.

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That doesn’t mean Belichick’s thinking won’t align closer to Riddick than Smith. He’s a head coach who never feels pressure to play the bigger name or higher-salaried player over a relative unknown. Newton will need to earn his starting spot before he gets on the field ahead of Stidham. Perhaps Stephen A. Smith will suggest drug testing the Hall of Fame head coach when the 2020 regular-season finally gets underway.

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