1 player the New England Patriots need to step up in 2021

It’s no secret that the Patriots need much better quarterback play in 2021, and it starts with former NFL MVP Cam Newton.

Year one after the Tom Brady era didn’t go smoothly for the New England Patriots. They signed Cam Newton, hoping he could fill the shoes of the now seven-time champion. Unfortunately, a battle with the coronavirus and awful quarterback play derailed Newton and the Pats 2020 season to the tune of a 7-9 record.

It was also the worst campaign of Newton’s career.

He threw for only 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 15 games last year. His 47.0 QBR was the fourth-worst in the NFL among qualified quarterbacks, according to ESPN. Just using the eyeball test, Newton wasn’t accurate and held onto the ball much longer than needed at times. It’s very possible lingering effects of COVID-19, along with playing catch-up in New England’s playbook, contributed to the former MVPs down year.

Cam Newton must take advantage of his second chance with the Patriots

The Patriots re-signed Newton to another one-year contract this offseason, which means they expect him to play far above his output in 2020. He has had an entire offseason to get acclimated to their playbook and work with his teammates. If anything, SuperCam needs to play well for the sake of his NFL career.

Preparing for the 2021 season hasn’t started well for Newton, who suffered a hand injury during Patriots minicamp. It seems to be minor, which means the former No. 1 overall pick can breathe a sigh of relief.

Mac Jones was the Pat’s first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft, signaling that they are starting to groom their quarterback of the future. If Newton has a similar year like 2020 in ’21, he could get pulled in favor of the incoming rookie. That would be detrimental to his career, as the market for quarterbacks seems to be dry for the foreseeable future.

Newton showed that he can still run the ball, accumulating 592 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground last season. However, it’s his job to throw the ball effectively as a quarterback. If he can channel his 2015 self again, he’ll be able to delay the Mac Jones project for at least a couple of years.

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