Lawrence Guy shares a surprising benefit of Patriots' virtual workouts

Lawrence Guy shares a surprising benefit of Patriots' virtual workouts

Football is a true team sport that necessitates proper execution. So, you'd think the inability of players to take reps together would severely hinder their progress.

But the New England Patriots apparently are pleasantly surprised by what they can accomplish virtually.

In a video conference with reporters Wednesday after being named to the Patriots' All-Decade Team, defensive tackle Lawrence Guy shared an important positive of New England's virtual workout program with team facilities closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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"It’s a different way of learning," Guy responded, referencing the video conferences and "virtual workouts" that have replaced in-person team meetings and walkthroughs. " ... You can help pretty much everybody in the aspect of getting what you need to do on paper and through words. So, you might see it, you might hear it without fully understanding it. You can ask a little bit more questions because you’re in your comfort zone.

"When you’re up at the facility around everybody else, you’re moving, you’re doing everything, you might feel uncomfortable. But now that we’re not able to do that, you hear more questions. You hear more things being said and trying to get more detailed into it. Not that we weren’t that detailed, but you can just see it developing."

Guy makes an interesting point: Some players may be more comfortable asking questions about plays from the comfort of their own homes, rather than on a practice field where a coach or veteran is breathing down their necks.

The lack of in-person interaction also means fewer distractions, so players might notice details about a play virtually that they may have missed during a live practice.

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Guy also believes this virtual learning environment will benefit the Patriots' rookies, who may actually have more interactions with veterans out of necessity. 

"I truly think when the rookies come in and they get to experience something that’s different -- their learning curve is going to be there, but I feel like we have resources, we have the players that are able to reach out and talk and help them out," Guy said.

"And that’s going to help every single player get a little bit closer with their teammates through this time because we don’t have that interaction on the field, so we want to have more interaction on the phone, through video chat and try to get to know each other that way."

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick admitted over the weekend that New England's virtual program -- which began last Monday -- has gone "better than I had expected," so it appears those interactions are happening.

The Patriots face a monumental challenge this season without Tom Brady under center, but perhaps a strong "virtual" offseason can help give them leg up in 2020.

Cam Newton sets record straight on Patriots contract in Instagram post

Cam Newton sets record straight on Patriots contract in Instagram post

Cam Newton might get paid like a backup NFL quarterback in New England -- and he could care less.

The three-time Pro Bowler and 2015 NFL MVP reportedly signed a meager contract with the Patriots on Sunday that includes a $1.05 million base salary and just $550,000 in guaranteed money.

But in an Instagram post Thursday, Newton insisted he's not concerned about his light paycheck.

"This is not about money for me; It's about respect," Newton wrote in the caption, which included the hashtag #ImBettingItAllOnMe.

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Newton was an elite QB before shoulder and foot injuries derailed his career, forcing him to miss a total of 16 games between 2018 and 2019. Those injuries led the Carolina Panthers to release Newton in March and seemingly scared away 30 other teams that viewed the 31-year-old as damaged goods.

But Newton has a great opportunity to revive his career in New England, where he can help the Patriots continue their success in the post-Tom Brady era if he's able to stay healthy.

By regaining that respect, Newton also can help himself get paid: His contract reportedly doesn't prevent New England from franchise tagging him in 2021, which would vault the QB's salary well north of $20 million.

Newton made more than $121 million during his nine seasons in Carolina, so it appears he was willing to take a bargain deal with the Patriots if it meant showing the NFL he can still bring it. 

Will Patriots go over or under oddsmakers' new season win total with Cam Newton?

Will Patriots go over or under oddsmakers' new season win total with Cam Newton?

Oddsmakers decreased the New England Patriots' win total prop for the 2020 NFL season to a new low just a few weeks ago.

The Patriots were set at 8.5 wins -- a notable difference from the 10 or 10.5 win totals we've been accustomed to seeing over the last 20 years. But this Patriots team is quite different. Six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady left in free agency, along with several important veteran players on defense. 

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The reported addition of Cam Newton has changed the Patriots' outlook, however.

The Patriots reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with Newton that could be worth up to $7.5 million if he hits all the incentives in the deal. Newton struggled with injuries in 2019 and played in only two of the Carolina Panthers' 16 games. He's healthy now, though, and also the favorite to win the Patriots' starting quarterback job over 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham.

Oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook have increased the Patriots' win total to nine. Here are the latest odds for that prop bet:

Over nine wins: -125
Under nine wins: +103

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It should be noted the Patriots' odds of reaching the 2020 NFL playoffs also have improved to -200. Both conferences will have an extra wild card playoff team beginning next season, and nine wins would have been enough to secure the No. 7 seed in the AFC last season.

Newton, if healthy, should give the Patriots above-average (or better) play at the sport's most important position. His dual-threat skill set would bring a dynamic to the Patriots offense that we've rarely seen during Bill Belichick's 20-year run as the team's head coach.

There are plenty of challenges standing in New England's way of winning more than nine games next season. For starters, they have a difficult schedule that includes matchups versus the best teams in the AFC and several of the top contenders in the NFC. The team also had lots of veteran players, including Brady and its two sack leaders from last season (linebackers Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy) leave in the offseason. Adjusting to this kind of roster turnover is a challenge. The offseason as a whole has been difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing all team activities to be held virtually. Neither the Patriots nor any other team have been able to hold on-field workouts.

The Patriots are no doubt a better team with Newton now in the fold, but he'll need to be healthy and play at a high level in 2020 for New England to extend its playoff appearance streak to 12 seasons.