Cam Newton issued a scathing self-assessment Thursday during his weekly video conference with reporters.
The New England Patriots quarterback acknowledged he simply has not played up to his standards of late.
“I just haven’t been good,” Newton said. “I haven’t matched enough good plays together for my liking, and that’s what it comes down to. And when I (say) ‘good plays,’ I mean right reads, I mean ball positioning, I mean making guys miss — just the whole gamut of how I play. I know what I’m capable of.”
Newton struggled as a passer during the Patriots’ Week 3 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, then looked worse Sunday upon his return from the reserve/COVID list. He threw for just 157 yards, tossed two interceptions, was sacked four times and nearly lost a fumble on a strip sack in an 18-12 home loss to the underdog Denver Broncos.
“My standard is extremely high, and I haven’t been meeting it — my personal standard,” said Newton, who displayed sloppy mechanics and poor awareness and anticipation after missing nearly two full weeks of practice. “So that’s how I feel.”
Newton acknowledged after the game that his lack of practice time negatively affected his play.
The 2015 NFL MVP has been a productive rusher this season (45 carries, 225 yards, five touchdowns) but has surpassed 175 passing yards in just one of his four starts. He also has thrown at least one interception in each of his last three games.
The Patriots, who lost to the Kansas City Chiefs while Newton was sidelined following his positive COVID test, enter Sunday’s matchup with the San Francisco 49ers at 2-3. It’s the first time they’ve been below .500 in October or later since 2002.
“I’m in this position to win football games, and the last couple games, that hasn’t been the case,” Newton said. “So before I sit up here and try to get people involved — I would love that more than anything, but more importantly than that, we’ve got to win.”