Patriots

Newton has a realistic view of his woeful passing stats

Patriots

Cam Newton knows the numbers aren't pretty.

The New England Patriots quarterback knows he's thrown for just 2,053 yards in 11 games (23rd in the NFL) with five passing touchdowns (T-34th), nine interceptions (T-8th-most) and an 80.3 passer rating (28th).

He knows the critics of his shortcomings in the passing game have plenty of ammo from the last two weeks, in which Newton threw for a total of 153 yards (84 against the Cardinals; 69 against the Chargers) with one TD pass and two interceptions.

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So, how is he handling that criticism?

"I think a lot of times the appreciation for how I play the game is not the sexiest thing," Newton said Tuesday on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show." "I would be the first person to tell you that.

"People are always comparing quarterbacks, which is the right thing to do, but the styles of play are completely different. Obviously, looking at my game and looking at Patrick Mahomes’ play, Tom Brady’s play, whoever is a gunslinger in this league that throws for a lot of yards -- that’s a way to win. I understand that. But, the way that the team’s have offered themselves to win has been different."

 

Brady put up gaudy numbers over two decades in a New England offense that often favored the pass. But the 2020 Patriots have taken a polar opposite approach.

Geared for the ground

Patriots' pass attempts this season (31st in NFL)
338
Patriots' rush attempts this season (1st in NFL)
398

That approach is just fine with Newton, though.

"Yeah, you can negate or kind of downplay, ‘Well, he’s only doing this, he’s only doing that.’ Well, when your number is called and the team is relying on you to get a first down on fourth-and-2 on the first drive and you come through, then it is what it is," Newton said. " ... However the game needs to be won, that is what I am willing to do."

Of course, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has built an ultra-conservative approach in part because Newton isn't Brady or Mahomes. He's been inconsistent and inaccurate in the passing game, and New England doesn't have the pass-catching weapons to make up for those deficiencies.

The good news for the Patriots is that Newton seems aware of those deficiencies and has fully bought in to a system that has him throwing far less than he ever has in his career.

"When you’re throwing the ball efficiently or you’re throwing the ball with the workload not as strenuous as it is, it only can revert to the winning formula," Newton added.

"We’re running the ball pretty good, pretty solid and we’re going to need more of that here. Whatever is asked of me from Josh [McDaniels], Bill [Belichick] and Jedd [Fisch] and those guys, I am all for it."