New England Patriots fans have very low expectations for Cam Newton heading into the season, which is understandable when you look at how the former MVP played in 2020. While Newton is not quite ready to tell people to get their popcorn ready, he seems like he expects much better results this year.
During an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin Show” on Thursday morning, Newton spoke about what has changed for him between his first and second years in New England.
“I don’t want to get so caught up in promises and things like that, but I can guarantee you that there’s been a shift in comfort of knowing more,” Newton said, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “And I think that’s added value in itself.”
There were many, many factors working against Newton last season. He was signed late in the offseason, and there were a number of restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. That limited the amount of time players were able to spend working out with their teammates. Newton then contracted COVID-19 during the season and was out for a while.
The Patriots also had arguably the worst collection of skill position players in the NFL last season. They have since added star tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry as well as wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor.
While the new weapons should help, Newton clearly knows he will be under a microscope this year.
“I know who I am. At times, I do remind myself people forget who you are, and what you’ve done,” he said. “So now I’m a position now where I need to be my best self. It’s really put-up or shut-up time.”
The Patriots used the 15th overall pick in the draft on Mac Jones. Based on everything we have heard about the former Alabama star this offseason, Newton may need to play very well to keep his job. Bill Belichick has repeatedly said that Newton is the team’s starter, but there is virtually no chance it stays that way if the 32-year-old struggles the way he did in 2020.