Cam Newton's first game with the New England Patriots was impressive, to say the least.
The veteran quarterback led his team to a 21-11 win against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Newton made an impact through the air and on the ground. He completed 15 of 19 passes for 155 yards, in addition to tallying 75 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Over the summer, NBC Sports' Chris Simms unveiled his top 40 quarterbacks in the NFL and Newton was ranked No. 10 despite still being a free agent at the time. It was considered a bold take to put Newton that high, but the decision certainly looked justified after watching Newton's play in the season opener.
Simms joined the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Talk Podcast to discuss Newton's debut in New England.
"It was a great performance, and first off, I had a lot of people say that to me, 'He's not on a team. How good can he possibly be?'," Simms told host Tom E. Curran. "With the injury he had and the age he's at, the specimen he is -- and I knew a few people that knew him that I (felt confident) he was healthy, and these injuries were going to be able to be overcome. ... But what we saw in the game itself, watching that film, it was the best thing I've watched so far in Week 1.
"The offensive gameplan formulated by (Josh) McDaniels and (Bill) Belichick -- we know New England is a master at this is what our guy does really well, let's find different ways to use his strengths. I just think between the personnel sets, the formations, and some of the schemes in which they used Cam Newton, and then him showing the ability to make some pretty damn good throws, you go, uh oh, watch out. New England's got something here."
One disadvantage for the Dolphins was they had no preseason games or training camp scouting reports to use in preparation for the Newton-led Patriots offense. Simms thinks that hurt the Dolphins, but he believes the Patriots will be thinking a few steps ahead to keep their next opponents off-balance.
"What New England did and everything like that, it won't stay the same," Simms said. "It's going to continue to grow off of what they did. They will be ready for that next move and adjustments, to go, OK, we showed all these Cam Newton runs and all these great creative things we can do, but now that's going to force defenses' hands to do things to take it away.
"Knowing Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick and how they operate, they already have their Plan B ready for, hey, we think teams will do this, so our next move has to be these plays to expose that and keep everything functioning at a high level within that offense.
Also discussed in this episode: The Patriots' ability to sustain running with Newton, how different the offense looks without Newton running, and reactions to Tom Brady's debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.