Newton explained Monday on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” that the offense, not succeeding legendary quarterback Tom Brady, gave him trouble in 2020 as the Patriots went 7-9.
?None. It was the system,” Newton said. “People undermine that. No disrespect to him. Obviously, I have the utmost respect for him, as we all do as quarterbacks. But I wasn?t just following him. I was following a system that he had the luxury of being in for 20 years. Just imagine that. That?s just like, as a student you?re given six months to take a final exam, honestly, that took 20 years to prepare but you only have, in essence, five weeks to prepare for it.
?So yeah, it was hard at times. It had nothing to do with him. It had a lot more to do with a system and Josh McDaniels — who?s brilliant by the way — of going off of the years of? 2001, 2003. It was nothing for him to say ?well, we had this play back in 2006.? Like, 2006, I was in the 10th or 11th grade, you know what I?m saying??
The Patriots headed into their offseason workout program with Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer at quarterback and didn’t sign Newton until July. NFL preseason games also were canceled this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so Newton was heading into the 2020 season mostly cold.
It’s understandable why Newton couldn’t fully grasp an offense that’s been growing for 20 years in a matter of five weeks. It’s less understandable why McDaniels would expect him to.
Newton wound up completing 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions while rushing 137 times for 592 yards with 12 more scores. He also caught two passes for 35 yards with a touchdown and lost a fumble for 21 total scores and 11 turnovers.