Cam Newton doesn’t feel like the starting quarterback just yet.
Any semblance of a quarterback competition on the New England Patriots went out the window within the first few days of practice, as Brian Hoyer’s consistently average play and Jarrett Stidham’s regression paved a path for former Carolina Panthers MVP Cam Newton to start in Week 1 of his redemption tour.
Despite the fact that Newton, who played in just two games last season due to injury, has been unofficially coronated as the Week 1 starter, he doesn’t feel as sharp or as in command of the offense as he did in Carolina. Because of this, Newton claimed he needs to work on understanding New England’s playbook before he can feel comfortable.
Cam Newton needs to work on memorizing the Patriots playbook
“There are certain things when I come to the line of scrimmage and it’s just not as firing mentally as I would want it to be,” Newton said. “I see a person like Hoyster go to the line and he’s as sharp as can be. For me, asking him questions, and he answers them.”
Learning a new system is difficult, but learning a Bill Belichick/Josh McDaniels system in an offseason shortened by the coronavirus is even more mentally taxing. While Newton has the arm strength. accuracy, and playmaking ability to get the Patriots into the playoffs again, their ceiling will likely be determined by how quickly Cam is able to soak up their dense playbook.
While he is establishing chemistry with his receivers and bringing his trademark flair to New England, it’s not unreasonable to doubt if Newton will be able to replicate his standout performances from his Carolina days. That all hinges on if he can cram McDaniels’ encyclopedic playbook into his head ahead of Week 1.