FOXBORO, Mass. — Cam Newton hasn’t played up to his lofty standards so far this season, but don’t expect the New England Patriots to look past the Panthers quarterback as they prepare to take on Carolina on Sunday.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gushed about Newton on Wednesday, calling the former MVP the best mobile quarterback in the NFL.
“I think when you’re talking about mobile quarterbacks, guys that are tough to handle, tackle, can throw, run, make good decisions, can beat you — I would put Newton at the top of the list,” Belichick said. “Not saying there aren’t a lot of other good players that do that, but I would say of all the guys we play or have played recently in the last couple years, I would definitely put him, he’s the hardest guy to deal with. He makes good decisions, he can run, he’s strong, he’s hard to tackle. He can do a lot of different things, beat you in a lot of different ways. We saw that in the game in ’13. So, I would put him at the top of the list. Not saying the other guys aren’t a problem, cause they are, but he would be Public Enemy No. 1.”
Belichick doesn’t often deal in hyperbole, so if he says Newton is the top dual-threat quarterback in the league, then he believes it.
Newton has completed 51 of 83 passes for 566 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions this season. He’s carried the ball 14 times for 46 yards as he’s dealt with shoulder and ankle injuries.
It’s easy to see why Belichick regards Newton so highly when looking at the QB’s winning performance against the Patriots in 2013. Newton completed 19 of 28 passes for 209 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran seven times for 62 yards in the Panthers’ 24-20 win.
The Patriots struggled against another mobile quarterback, Houston Texans rookie Deshaun Watson, in their 36-33 win in Week 3. The rookie threw for 300 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while running for 41 yards.
Belichick was asked to compare Watson and Newton on Wednesday.
“I think both guys probably have a few plays that are designed runs,” Belichick said. “And then there are improvised runs.”
The Patriots couldn’t stop Watson on either. They also had a difficult time bringing him behind the line of scrimmage.
Newton is a bigger, stronger player, while Watson is more slippery. But playing against Watson in Week 3 should be good practice for the Patriots as they prepare for the Panthers.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images
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