Bill Belichick Has Seen ‘Significant Improvement’ In Cam Newton’s Mechanics

Newton has completed more than 70 percent of his passes

by Zack Cox

Sep 21, 2020

Since signing Cam Newton in July, the New England Patriots have worked with the veteran quarterback to refine his mechanics.

The results, head coach Bill Belichick said Monday, have been positive.

Through two games with New England, Newton has completed 71.4 percent of his passes, the seventh-best mark among all qualified NFL signal-callers. He also ranks sixth in average yards per attempt (8.8).

“Cam’s worked really hard on his throwing mechanics, and we’ve seen significant improvement during that time,” Belichick said in a video call one day after Patriots’ 35-30 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. “Cam’s the type of guy where when you point out something to him and ask him to work on it, he works very hard, and he really tries to do it the way that you ask him to do it.

“I can’t ask him to do any more than what he’s doing, but he’s definitely made some modifications in his mechanics and his delivery. I think that’s helped his accuracy and the timing a little bit.”

With the help of quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Newton has focused on refining his footwork, lower body positioning and shoulder alignment.

“Coach Fisch and Coach McDaniels, as well as Cam, have worked very hard on certain things that we’re doing that maybe he hasn’t done as much of in the past or we’re doing a little differently, whatever the case might be,” Belichick said.

“But he works very hard at his fundamentals and techniques and the execution of the passing game, and the results have been positive and, I would say, significantly better on those types of plays that those adjustments need to be made on.”

Newton completed a career-high 67.9 percent of his passes with the Carolina Panthers in 2018 before missing most of the 2019 season with a foot injury. He enjoyed one of the most productive passing performances of his 10-year career Sunday night, going 30-for-44 for 397 yards and one touchdown against Seattle.

The 31-year-old only had reached that yardage total twice previously: in the first two games of his rookie season in 2011.

But it wasn’t a flawless outing for Newton. Though his overall accuracy has been strong thus far, he did make two potentially costly errors while targeting Dameire Byrd on out-breaking routes near the left sideline.

Both passes were behind the speedy wideout. One was intercepted, and the other nearly resulted in a pick-six.

Newton also had an off-balance throw to N’Keal Harry in the same area that sailed wide of its mark.

“They’ve really been working hard with him (on) trying to keep those shoulders level,” NBC color commentator Cris Collinsworth said on the game broadcast after Newton missed Harry. “When he makes mistakes, he tends to raise that front shoulder and then try to throw over the top. They’re trying to shorten his stride and not do much of that.”

Belichick said improvement on those types of sideline throws has not been an emphasis for Newton and the Patriots’ coaching staff.

“I’d say generally speaking, his accuracy outside (the numbers) is pretty good,” Belichick said. “I’d say he’s right there at the top in throwing the ball really anywhere on the field, but particularly outside. Those are some hard throws, and he does a pretty good job on that.

“So I wouldn’t say that’s really been where the focus is, but every pass is an important pass. There’s none that we take for granted, and certainly for the quarterback, you want to put every ball right there in the strike zone. That’s your job. But I wouldn’t say that’s been the main focus of it, no.”

Newton also rushed for two touchdowns against Seattle before being stopped short of the goal line on the game’s final play. He’s been the Patriots’ leading rusher in each of his first two games with the team.

Thumbnail photo via Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton
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