Cam Newton says he’ll be ready for Chargers, adds he’s ‘yet to play’ his best football

Newton is on this week's injury report due to an abdomen injury.

Cam Newton Patriots comeback
Cam Newton says he'll be ready to play against the Chargers. –AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Patriots quarterback Cam Newton appeared on the injury report for the first time this season on Wednesday with an abdomen injury. He doesn’t expect the injury to keep him out of this Sunday’s matchup against the Chargers.

“I will be,” Newton said when asked if he’ll be ready to play Sunday during his press conference on Thursday. “I’m feeling as good as I should be feeling. You just have to stay on top of things, see what the trainers say. Just keep getting treatment.”

With 10 games under his belt this season, it’s reasonable to think that it’s just the season grind getting to his body. Newton dismissed it as wear and tear, simply saying “It’s football.”

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The news of Newton’s abdomen injury came just a few days after he put up one of the worst performances of his career. Newton completed just 9-of-18 passes for a career-low 84 yards and threw two picks, resulting in a 23.6 passer rating (another career-low) in the Patriots’ 20-17 win over the Cardinals.

When asked if he was dealing with an injury, Newton didn’t dismiss it – but didn’t blame the injury for his poor performance either.

“I’m focusing on the Chargers game,” Newton said. “Like I said, to keep everything kosher, and everything up and up. I’m never one to blame, I’m just focusing on the Chargers game. ”

Sunday’s performance was just another chapter in what’s been a roller coaster ride of a season for Newton. After getting off to a 2-1 start, Newton tested positive for COVID-19 and lost three straight games when he came back, committing six turnovers in that span.

He turned it around, putting up solid performances in wins against the Jets and Ravens, and still had decent numbers in the loss to the Texans.

Bill Belichick and Newton’s teammates have praised Newton’s leadership abilities throughout the ups and downs this season. Newton shared how he’s approaching the home stretch as his first season in New England winds down and the Patriots look to stay alive in the playoff hunt.

“What drives me is knowing I’ve yet to play my best football. Do I know certain things? Yes. Do you know how people are going to play you? No. In this game, I’ve always said it comes down to reacting. When that play is called and Josh [McDaniels] gives that play call, that 40 seconds you have to call a play, it really comes down to how you react faster to the defense at executing. Have I done that consistently? Not to my liking, but I’m getting there. It’s just a learning curve. It’s just learning each and every day.

A quote from Game of Thrones — ‘You know nothing, Jon Snow’ — that’s been kind of my mentality each and every day. Just try and stay open-minded and learn as much as I possibly can. I understand how Josh works and it’s so unbelievable to work with him, because he makes so much in-game adjustments that you always have to stay on your Ps and Qs. You’ve got to always say, ‘What we went over that one time this week coach, you can’t call that.’ That’s not how Josh works. He’s all about reacting to what the defense gives him and you’ve got to be ready to go and execute at a high level.

So, with that being said… As far as adversity, as far as success, as far as what my expectation is, it never will change. I don’t know enough. There’s also a side of me where I’ve came a long way in this system, but I’m still learning. I think that’s my carrot. Each and every day I know that I’ve yet to play my best football and that I’m getting more and more comfortable all under the graces of Dolla Dolla Bill [Belichick], Mickey D’s [McDaniels], and coach Jedi [quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch].”

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In nickname news, Newton shared the nickname for practice squad quarterback Jake Dolegala is “State Farm,” a reference to the character, Jake from State Farm, in the company’s commercials.

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