Because of the Patriots’ schedule — with back-to-back games in Los Angeles in a five-day span — the team is opting to stay and practice at UCLA in the time between playing the Chargers on Sunday and the Rams on Thursday.
Cam Newton was asked about the unusual experience during his Tuesday morning interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.” Specifically, the Patriots’ quarterback was asked if players are able to roam at all or are “restricted” to their rooms.
“We’re pretty much restricted, but at the same time, we know we came out here for business, and we want to take care of that first,” said Newton. “Coach made that very loud and clear and just want to make sure everybody’s focused and staying on as close a routine as we possibly can.
“You see guys still doing what they typically do on a given week, from watching film to preparing to meeting with coaches and things like that,” Newton added. “That’s pretty much where all our energy is going right now, and hopefully we can get the ball back rolling here Thursday.”
At 6-6, the Patriots are in a much better place to potentially get a playoff spot than a month ago, when the team was 2-5. Still, despite the 45-0 demolition of the Chargers in Week 13, Newton faced questions about his limited passing numbers.
Totaling just 69 yards through the air, the 31-year-old quarterback reiterated that the only statistic he cares about is winning.
“A lot of times when people play the game, they get fixated [on] statistics, right?” responded Newton. “And for me personally, I’ve played this game long enough to have played and had games where I’ve had 400 yards and lost, also a lot of yards and won, also had like this past game, 69 yards and won. Or I’ve had 100 yards, 120 yards and lost.
“So I don’t necessarily get fixated [on] that statistic,” Newton continued. “I’ve said it multiple times, I’m really all about winning. And yeah were there some passes that I wish I could’ve had back? Absolutely, but 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.
“We’re running the ball pretty good, pretty solid, and we’re going to need more of that here. But whatever’s after me, from Josh and Bill and Jed and those guys, I’m all for it. You’re not about to hear me complaining about winning, and if it comes to that, then I will be readily available to throw the football. But going back and looking at the game, there were times and opportunities that we missed out on. And I mean me personally, with inaccuracy, or this, that, and the third. I’m not here to complain or bicker about that, by no means. But it is what it is.”
Newton was asked why he thinks he encounters criticism for not producing better passing numbers in a more traditional assessment of a quarterback’s performance.
“I think the thing that you, a lot of times the appreciation of how I play the game is not the sexiest thing,” Newton explained. “I would be the first person to tell you that, like 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’s 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 teams have offered themselves for wins has been different.
“You can negate or kind of downplay, ‘Oh well he’s only doing this, he’s only doing that,'” said Newton. “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. Or, whenever your number is called you just have to make sure that you’re ready. I am not here to throw up this and throw up that, but however the game needs to be won, that is what I am willing to do. That’s running the football, that’s passing the football and it’s my job to protect the football and be efficient.”
In mid-November, Newton confirmed that Julian Edelman was “getting better” in another WEEI interview. Yet after multiple weeks with the 34-year-old wide receiver still out (having not played since Week 7 due to a knee injury), Newton had a different tone when asked for another update on Edelman on Tuesday.
“I was summoned to not speak on nothing that I have no control over,” Newton replied, “and I will stick with that.”
“Let’s just say if you know, you know, and I will keep it at that,” Newton joked. When asked another follow-up question about, Newton had another humorous (indirect) reference to the Patriots’ leadership.
“Let’s just say, it got through,” Newton added, “and it hit home.”
The Patriots will face the Rams on Thursday night at 8:20 p.m.
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