Cam Newton on why he still thinks the Patriots can make the playoffs ‘contrary to popular belief’

"If we focus on trying to end every week 1-0, I think that's the only way to start."

Cam Newton Patriots Texans
Cam Newton evades Texans tacklers in the Patriots' eventual loss on Sunday. AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

A day after the Patriots’ 27-20 defeat to the Texans, Cam Newton knows that New England’s playoff odds are long.

At 4-6, the 31-year-old quarterback knows his teammates are also aware of the circumstances.

“There’s no slogan, no word, there’s nothing outside of for us…we have to do it for ourselves,” he explained in his weekly interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” Monday morning. “I think everybody in that locker room understands that. I wouldn’t dare put the pressure on us to say, ‘Well, we have to win out.’ We’re just going to take it one week at a time and win the game as it needs to be won.”

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He gave credit to Houston, specifically his quarterback counterpart, Deshaun Watson.

“I think the Texans were a perfect [example] of a good team with just a bad record,” said Newton. “I’ve been on record to describe us as the same way, but at the same time, each week is a different challenge. And Deshaun had a hell of a game. Coach harped on that all week.

“Defensively, they presented challenges to us that another team did not,” Newton explained. “At times, we moved the ball offensively, but we just weren’t consistent enough, and I’m speaking more or less of myself. We just have to keep taking these opportunities week-by-week to get better and I think we will.”

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The Patriots have Newton on a one-year contract, which he signed in the summer.

When asked about his future beyond the 2020 season — and if he “had interest in being a Patriot in 2021” — Newton immediately insisted that his focus remains on the present.

“I have interest in winning the Arizona Cardinals game, how about that?” Newton responded, in reference to New England’s Week 12 opponent.

Where a few of the Patriots’ previous defeats in the 2020 season could be traced more to Newton and the offense’s struggles with turnovers, Sunday’s loss came despite New England passing the ball well during periods of the game, and totaling 435 yards of total offense.

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Newton, asked about the performance of wide receiver Damiere Byrd, echoed his stated belief from earlier in the year when he supported the players already on the Patriots’ roster.

“Byrd made some plays yesterday, and it was evident that he was the main guy and every time I went to him, he didn’t disappoint,” said Newton. “The moment wasn’t too big for him. Needless to say of what people may question at that receiver position, I’ve said it before, we have the answers in that locker room. We just have to make sure we continually take opportunities to get better, trust in each other, knowing what each other’s thinking and theory behind certain things is, and that’s what we have.”

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On the injury to running back Rex Burkhead, who the team reportedly fears may have torn his ACL, Newton offered a glimpse into the human side of football.

“Yeah, it was just devastating,” Newton said of the injury to his teammate. “I know how hard he works, and he’s such a great guy, above all. I know a lot of times as fans or people who follow the game from afar, you don’t necessarily get relationships with the person outside of what he may post on Instagram or what he may post on social media, what you see on TV.

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“But Rex is one of the guys that [makes you] kind of question, ‘How does something like this happen to him?'” Newton continued. “He brings his lunch pail to work every single day, extremely low maintenance, and all he wants to do is just win. When you have teammates like that on your team, it’s just devastating to see something like that happen to him.”

As for the team’s mentality going forward, Newton offered his thoughts when asked if he still agrees that the Patriots’ 2020 playoff window “hasn’t shut.”

“No it hasn’t,” Newton maintained. “Contrary to popular belief, and there will be talks, there will be whispers, there will be things that will be said throughout the week. But yet, through it all, we just have to take one week at a time. If we do that, we’ll be fine.

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“If we focus on trying to end every week 1-0, I think that’s the only way to start,” Newton added. “And before going to 1-0, we have to put the proper work in and have a great week of practices and great execution in practice, so that it transfers to in-game success.”

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