This might come as a surprise after a 45-0 throbbing of the LA Chargers, coupled with wins in 4 of their last 5, but the Patriots need a quarterback change, and they need it now.
Cam Newton simply is not getting it done through the air. His last two yardage totals were 69 yards and 84 yards. Patrick Mahomes throws for more yards in an average quarter. It just is not good enough, and it is going to cost the Patriots as they get ready for their three biggest games of the year.
Even as a rusher, he really has not been as good as people have made him out to believe. Newton is averaging 4.1 yards per carry, which ranks 33rd in the league. Yes, he has been prolific as a goal-line rusher and short-yardage back, but are you telling me Damien Harris can’t be 90% of that with an actual quarterback under center? I’d certainly think so. Heck, if LeGarrette Blount can do it, anyone can.
Newton’s arm is shot. He really just doesn’t have anything left. The accuracy in the short passing game is putrid at best, and the guy can’t get the ball downfield, even if he’s is open by three steps. It looks like he’s trying to chuck a can of paint as hard as he can just to throw a 10-yard comeback. Take the Damiere Byrd deep incompletion from last Sunday in LA. Byrd beat the corner down the sideline and should have walked into the endzone, yet Newton couldn’t even come close, and the ball should have been picked.
Is Jarrett Stidham the second coming of Peyton Manning? No. But can he get you more than 69 and 84 passing yards in a game? I would bet the house on it. Stidham’s decision making and pocket presence clearly need work, but he throws a beautiful ball and can at least keep the defense honest. The touchdown throw he made to Gunner was better than any ball Newton has thrown all year. I’d even take Brian Hoyer at this point. At least he can make some throws with consistency.
It really is not difficult to stop this current offense. Just load the box and force the Patriots to throw the ball.
Because Newton cannot do it.
I think Sean McVay has half a brain and will make the necessary moves to halt this rushing attack tomorrow night. The question then becomes, will Belichick have the guts to pull Newton and throw in the second-year signal caller from Auburn?
Belichick would not have put Stidham in the game up 38-0 and have him throw three straight times if he wasn’t at least pondering the idea of a quarterback change. He clearly wanted to see if Stidham had improved at all since his less-than-stellar performance in Kansas City.
If they get down early on Thursday, you have to think Stidham is coming into the game. This high school offense cannot come back from a two possession game in the NFL. The only way to do it is to spread them out and throw the ball downfield.
And Cam Newton simply does not have that ability.