By Sean Golonka
BU News Service
Through three games this season, quarterback Cam Newton has provided the New England Patriots with excitement, leadership and winning football, all in the wake of Tom Brady’s departure this past off season.
When the Patriots’ starting quarterback of 19 years left New England and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March, many fans were disappointed. But the signing of former MVP quarterback Cam Newton in July provided some Patriots fans, like Ethan Fuller, with an immediate spark of joy.
“I was excited really from the moment [the Patriots] signed him, as long as they showed that they had trust in him and we’re gonna give him a real shot to run his own kind of game,” said Fuller, who is the co-sports director at WTBU.
Newton’s unique style of play has changed the Patriots’ offense and made him an exciting addition for a team looking for a new direction in the post-Brady era.
“It definitely is going to take some getting used to, because you just expect the surgical passing offense that [the Patriots] have had for 20 years,” Fuller said.
Longtime Patriots fan and New England native Seth Helman has also noticed the way that Newton has affected the team’s play this season.
The Patriots’ shift to a run-focused offense has been apparent in the numbers, too. In the first three weeks of the season, the Patriots led the NFL in total rushing yards and were top three in the league in rushing attempts, with Newton having a team-high 35 rushes.
Newton has also wasted no time adapting to the Patriots’ culture and the role that he has been placed in. In an interview with WEEI, Newton called his pairing with the Patriots, “a match made in heaven.”
When asked if he felt pressure about stepping into Tom Brady’s place, Newton said, “No, sir. I think the preparation that’s put forth in where I have been in my career ― the dark moments, the low moments, and obviously the high moments ― has prepared me for this.”
As he adjusts to his new team, Newton has also proven himself a leader and winner, giving some fans hope for a successful 2020 season.
With Newton under center, the Patriots have gone 2-1, with their single defeat being a one-possession loss on the road to a Seattle Seahawks team that has yet to lose this season.
“I think, at the minimum, they have a very good shot at the wildcard,” said Helman.
ESPN analyst and former NFL safety Ryan Clark holds Newton in even higher regard than most.
“This collection of players – Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd, N’Keal Harry – is better with Cam Newton at quarterback, period,” said Clark on ESPN. “He does more with this team than Tom Brady every could.”