New York Jets guard Greg Van Roten, who was teammates with Cam Newton for three seasons in Carolina, believes it’s “terrifying” to think about the impact the star quarterback could make on the Patriots’ offense if healthy.
Dan Orlovsky, however, doesn’t have nearly as high of expectations for the unit.
Orlovsky on Tuesday acknowledged New England undoubtedly improved by signing Newton, a three-time Pro Bowl selection. But the addition of Newton, of course, didn’t absolve all of the Patriots’ offensive issues, which the quarterback-turned-analyst believes will manifest at some point in the 2020 season.
“No, I don’t expect them to be terrifying, but they’re going to be an improved football team,” Orlovsky said on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “I think we have to look at how Bill Belichick is notorious for using the motto, ‘Don’t tell me what a player can’t do, tell me what a player can do.’ If you’ve ever heard Bill talk about Cam, it’s always about you have to deal with him, right? So I expect the Patriots to make defenses week after week after week to deal with Cam as a runner. Again, Bill Belichick has always referenced Cam Newton as a runner. So they’re going to play to their strengths, which is their offensive line and their run game and their running backs, and Cam is going to be a part of that run game.
“They’re going to try to cover up a lot of their weaknesses, which is the skill players on the outside. That’s where, to me, it comes down to. At the end of the day, football becomes a 1-on-1 game and at some point, teams are going to go, ‘Those skill players are not going to beat us on the outside.’ That’s why I said the Patriots are more than just a quarterback away. If Tom Brady and Bill Belichick weren’t terrifying last year, I don’t see how Cam Newton and Bill Belichick are going to be terrifying this year. It’s an improved football team, absolutely. But we’ve never seen New England win games with this style of offense that they’re going to need to play. It’s going to look a lot like what Baltimore does with Lamar (Jackson). Cam is not Lamar right now. Like I said, they’re improved. But to me, this is not a terrifying situation for the AFC.”
The Foxboro Faithful surely will prefer Nick Wright’s take on the new-look Patriots. The FOX Sports 1 talking head believes Newton immediately vaults the Pats up to one of the top three teams in the AFC, and he views Bill Belichick’s group as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.