Patriots

Belichick: Newton is 'Public Enemy No. 1' when it comes to scrambling quarterbacks

cam-newton-1-17-2016-panthers.jpg

Belichick: Newton is 'Public Enemy No. 1' when it comes to scrambling quarterbacks

FOXBORO -- Yesterday in this space we highlighted some of the difficulties that the Patriots had in containing Deshaun Watson's ability to scramble, extend plays, and pick up yardage down the field. 

With Cam Newton headed to Gillette Stadium over the weekend, Bill Belichick indicated that his team's job will only get tougher in regards to limiting those types of plays.

MORE PATRIOTS

"Well, I think both guys probably have a few plays that are designed runs, and then there are other plays that are improvised runs," Belichick explained. "I think when you’re talking about mobile quarterbacks, guys that are tough to handle, tackle, can throw, run, make good decision -- I mean, I would put Newton at the top of the list."

Watson ranks No. 1 in the league, according to Pro Football, when it comes to longest average time to throw (3.27 seconds). Other mobile quarterbacks -- DeShone Kizer, Tyrod Taylor, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers -- round out the top five in that category through three weeks this season. Newton is currently eighth on that list at an average of 2.76 seconds from snap to throw.

That's not all that far off from where Newton was when he was named MVP in 2015 (average of 2.85 seconds to throw). The difference this year is that regardless of when Newton throws, the results have been lacking. 

In 2015, his quarterback rating on throws that took 2.6 seconds or more was 97.9 -- third best in the league. And he was even better when getting the ball out more quickly, recording a 101.4 rating on passes that occurred 2.5 seconds or less from the time the ball was snapped.

This year? It's a small sample, but his rating on longer-developing throws is 69.7. It's only slightly better when he throws it more quickly: 71.0. 

Whether it's the shoulder injury that plagued him all offseason or turnover among the personnel with him in the offensive huddle, something's not allowing the Panthers offense -- which has scored 45 total points in three games -- to click.

Still, Belichick insisted on Wednesday that the Patriots have to respect Newton's ability to move in and out of the pocket to create explosive plays.

"Not saying that there aren’t a lot of other good players that do that, but I would say, of all the guys we play or have played recently in the last couple of years, he’s the hardest guy to deal with," Belichick said. "He makes good decisions. He can run. He’s strong. He’s hard to tackle. He can do a lot of different things, beat you in a lot of different ways. We saw that in the game down there in '13, so I would put him at the top of the list.

"Not saying the other guys aren’t a problem, because they are, but he’s Public Enemy No. 1."

Johnson Bademosi returns to Patriots practice, Alan Branch still absent

patriots_alan_branch_112716.jpg

Johnson Bademosi returns to Patriots practice, Alan Branch still absent

FOXBORO — Johnson Bademosi is sick. Sick of missing practice!

The Patriots cornerback returned to the field Friday after being held out Thursday due to illness. That left Alan Branch as the only absence for Friday’s practice. 

Branch, who is dealing with a knee injury, has now missed three straight days of practice. That puts his status for Sunday’s game against the Steelers in doubt.
 

Britt's actions should speak louder than Belichick's words

cp-patriots-kenny-britt-121517xx.jpg

Britt's actions should speak louder than Belichick's words

FOXBORO -- The Patriots bought low on a high-end talent this week in landing Kenny Britt on a two-year deal. 

Yet while the physical 2009 first-round pick could become a real weapon for Tom Brady, Bill Belichick’s words Friday suggested he’s waiting to see how it goes. 

“We’ll see how it goes,” Belichick said. 

Here's the thing though: Britt is good. He's really good. He's better than Michael Floyd, a late-season pickup last season to whom Britt's been compared. Floyd's impact proved to be minimal, plus Floyd was dealing with a legal and personal issue coming off a DUI and subsequent release. Britt is coming off a personal issue in that he had to play for the Browns. 

Asked about Britt’s size, Belichick confirmed that the 6-foot-3, 223-pound Britt is now the biggest wide receiver on the Patriots’ roster. Really, he is by a wide margin. The next-biggest Patriots receiver is Chris Hogan at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds. 

As for any impressions of Britt with the Pats, Belichick said “it’s only been a couple of days.” Britt will speak Friday afternoon. Word is he could have more to say than Belichick.