Morning sports update: ESPN analyst thinks Patriots will be ‘damn good’ in 2021, still skeptical of Cam Newton

"There are some things that he needs to do to prove that he is the guy."

Patriots Cam Newton NFL Free Agency
Cam Newton with the Patriots during the 2020 season. Doug Murray/AP

The Celtics face the Bucks tonight at 7:30 p.m. Boston is trying to shake off Monday’s overtime loss to the Grizzlies.

The Bruins will be back tomorrow against the Islanders at 7:30 p.m.

Cam Newton’s outlook for the 2021 season: Despite struggling to be an effective passer as Patriots quarterback in 2020, Cam Newton will be back in New England at the start of training camp in 2021.

Newton, 31, re-signed with the Patriots on a one-year deal earlier in March.

Though he scored 12 times on the ground last year, Newton threw just eight touchdown passes (along with 10 interceptions).

The Patriots have been busy in the offseason so far, adding talent to the offense. Tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry were added, as were wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor.


Bourne, 25, thinks Newton will have a bounce-back season in 2021.

“I think he’s going to ball out, with the weapons they brought in, the help now,” Bourne told reporters in his introductory New England press conference. “It was just one of those rebuilding years that they went through, and he was a part of it, so people may say he doesn’t look that good, or he looked bad, whatever it may be, but now he has some help and they know what they’re putting around him.”

Naturally, given Newton’s struggles last season, not everyone is convinced. ESPN analyst Marcus Spears remains skeptical that the 2015 NFL MVP will “ball out,” as Bourne suggested.

“Cam Newton will play better than last year, but balling out in my definition is when you are up towards the top of the league as far as at your position,” said Spears on Wednesday. “I don’t think Cam will be there. Now I hope I’m wrong, because I would love to see Cam have success in New England, especially with this team around him. But based on last year, I can’t say that.

“And look, people talked about Cam’s athleticism, and the things that he did that were successful,” Spears added. “I watched Cam throw the football terribly last year with his arm, which gave me a lot of concern. So there are some things that he needs to do to prove that he is the guy, at least [that] he can return to form good enough, because this team around him now — based on what Bill Belichick did in this offseason — is going to be damn good.”


Trivia: In Cam Newton’s rookie season with the Panthers (2011), he had two tight ends to throw to who were former first-round picks out of the University of Miami. Name those tight ends.

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: One was drafted by the Panthers, the other by the Giants.

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