Several Patriots fans are looking toward the draft for their team to find their solution at quarterback. Former Patriots receiver Deion Branch believes they already have their answer in the building.
The Super Bowl XXXIX MVP thinks Cam Newton will a better second season in New England than his first season. Speaking to Patriots season-ticket holders for a draft preview, Branch said that the Patriots don’t even need Newton to play at an MVP-level for them to have a good season.
“Given the offseason [he’ll have], I think we’ll see a better Cam,” Branch said, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “Everybody is always talking about the 2015 [MVP] Cam Newton, but I’d like to go back to just the 2018 [version] — 67.9 percent passing, 24 TDs, 13 interceptions. If they can get that type of performance, I think this will be a great year.”
As Branch pointed out, Newton had a solid 2018 season. In addition to the stats Branch mentioned, Newton threw for 3,395 yards and rushed for 488 yards, adding four touchdowns on the ground in 14 games. He also had a 94.2 passer rating that year, the second-best of his career.
Newton’s Panthers got off to a 6-2 start that season, but the year was derailed by a shoulder injury Newton suffered, causing him to lose his final six starts of the season.
This past season, Newton threw for 2,657 yards and had just eight passing touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He added 592 yards on the ground and had 12 rushing touchdowns on the year.
Branch isn’t the first person to recently predict a bounceback season for Newton. Throwing expert Tom House, who also works with Tom Brady, thinks the right things are falling into place for Newton to have a solid 2021 campaign.
“What people don’t realize is Cam has been injured,” House said in an interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Patriots Talk Podcast. “He hasn’t had the ability to work on mechanics like he should or could have because his health was an issue. And what you saw with the pandemic and all the upheaval and weird things that were going on with the day-to-day process, he probably didn’t have the time, or what I would say — his efforts had to be directed toward just plain competing.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft also stated his support for Newton when speaking to reporters in March.
“I’m not sure he had the proper weapons around him, then he got COVID,” Kraft said of Newton’s 2020 season. “When he got going, he was playing pretty well. But he’s more familiar with what goes on here, just like younger players from last year. And we’ll see what happens this year.”
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