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Why Cam Newton's starting job in New England isn't locked in yet, per Charley Casserly

Why Cam Newton's starting job in New England isn't locked in yet, per Charley Casserly

For much of the offseason following Tom Brady's departure from a franchise he'd spent 20 years with, the Patriots' replacement was poised to be either the unproven Jarrett Stidham or journeyman Brian Hoyer. 

But on Sunday, New England signed former MVP Cam Newton to a one-year contract to take the reigns from a six-time Super Bowl champion. Newton is the presumed starter given his competition for the job, but are we sure to find Newton under center for the Pats when Week 1 comes around?

Former Redskins general manager and NBC Sports Washington analyst Charley Casserly doesn't think their starting quarterback is set in stone quite yet. 

"I think [Newton] is in the mix is what [the plan] is," Casserly said on the Sports Junkies Monday. "I know they like Stidham [who] played well in preseason last year, ahead of Garoppolo at the same point in time from what I could see and I think they see it too, but he's still an unknown.

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"[Newton is] coming in without a spring, maybe we have two preseason games, so you gotta feel that Stidham and Hoyer will be ahead of him," he said. "But Belichick will play the best player. So who starts may not be as important as who finishes during the course of the year."

It's been almost five years since Newton took the NFL by storm and won the MVP to go along with a 15-1 record and a Super Bowl appearance for the Panthers. A myriad of injuries, especially to his shoulder, took him from one of the best players in the league to a free agent signing a one-year deal in late June. 

RELATED: RIVERA TOLD THE TRUTH, THE REDSKINS WEREN'T GOING TO SIGN NEWTON

The 31-year-old only played in two games for Carolina last year, so in his last full season as a starter in 2018, Newton threw for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with 488 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

It's hard to imagine Newton not starting over a quarterback who threw four passes last season, one of which was a pick-six, but between the injury concerns and the challenges of learning a new system virtually and in a tight window before training camp, you can start to see his uphill battle toward starting in Week 1.

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From impossible to inevitable, Redskins name change seems imminent

From impossible to inevitable, Redskins name change seems imminent

A typhoon of momentum washed over the Washington football organization in the last week and all of a sudden one thing seems quite clear: The Redskins will never play another game.

There will still be football played at FedEx Field and that team seems very likely to still wear burgundy and gold, but after a series of public comments and private conversations with sources in and around the NFL, a Redskins name change is imminent.

Over and over and from different people, one phrase got repeated when asked if the Redskins were actually going to change the team name: "It's done."

The exact timeline remains murky, and there are difficult logistic, marketing and financial questions looming, but too much happened too fast for any other outcome than a name change.

Speaking with numerous sources one misconception emerged however.

While the Redskins publicly announced that the team is conducting a “thorough review” of the team name on July 3, multiple sources explained that internal conversations about changing the name have been going on for some time.

In fact, one source explained that after the murder of George Floyd in May and the massive public protests and demands for social justice that followed, the conversations about changing the Redskins moniker heated up the first week of June.

It’s unclear what the new name will be.

RELATED: COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF REDSKINS FAN-GENERATED NEW NAMES

Redtails and Warriors seem to have the most momentum, but that doesn’t mean either will be the new name. The organization wants to consult with a wide variety of people and resources before finalizing a selection.

The team is proud of its history, understandably, and does not want to abandon all of the team’s success and tradition. What exactly that means will be revealed, likely in the next month or so.

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Let’s be clear - public pressure from FedEx, Nike and Pepsi hastened the call for change.

When FedEx publicly requested on July 2 that Washington change its team name from Redskins, this process got sent into overdrive. The team announced its plan for an internal review of the name the next morning. But conversations, some extensive, had already begun inside the organization prior to FedEx’s announcement.

What once seemed unthinkable now seems inevitable - the Washington Redskins won’t take the field again. 

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Former Patriot and Eagle Pro Bowler Asante Samuel takes shot at Darrell Green

Former Patriot and Eagle Pro Bowler Asante Samuel takes shot at Darrell Green

Asante Samuel got hit Fourth of July fireworks started early Saturday morning with a negative tweet about NFL Hall-of-Famer Darrell Green.

The former Pro Bowler with the Patriots and the Eagles had a fine 11-year NFL career. He is a Super Bowl champion himself. But his out-of-nowhere tweets about Green, one of the NFL’s all-time great corners, were just…weird. 

Green was a dominant player on two Super Bowl champions, a seven-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 1991. He was one of the fastest players in the league, a fearsome punt returner when necessary in playoff games and an all-around great player. Even other players from Samuel’s era were confused, including former Redskins safety Will Blackmon.

That's a pretty accurate description of the differences between Samuel's era and the way the game was played when Green was at his peak. Maybe he stuck around too long and maybe he wasn't close to the player he'd once been by the late 90s and early 2000s.

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But peak Darrell Green was an unquestioned Hall-of-Fame player. Teams didn't throw at him for a reason. When they did, they paid for it. Samuel got a little aggressive for a guy who might have cost the Pats an extra Super Bowl. 

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Tony Dungy, himself a great player and a Super Bowl champion as a player AND a coach, clapped back at Samuel for his ignorance of NFL history. 

That about says it all. 

For his part, Samuel doubled down responding to some tweets but by the afternoon he was starting to see the light. Sort of. 

 

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