Gelb: Newton, unlike Brady, trusts Patriots wide receivers

Patriots QB Cam Newton has exceeded expectations this season, in part because he’s doing something his predecessor, Tom Brady, did not: he’s trusting the weapons around him

Zach Gelb
September 24, 2020 - 9:38 am
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Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has exceeded expectations this season, in part because he’s doing something his predecessor, Tom Brady, did not.

He’s trusting his wide receivers.

“I think Cam learned a little bit on how Brady handled this last year,” Zach Gelb said on The Zach Gelb Show. “If you remember, Brady wanted no part of these young wide receivers. He was begging the team to go get Antonio Brown.”

Brady, in fact, told Howard Stern earlier this year that he didn’t have “any trust” in a certain wide receiver – likely N’Keal Harry – and that he refused to throw him the ball.

Gelb didn’t like that.

“I get that you’re Tom Brady and you’re my favorite quarterback of all my time, my favorite football player of all time; I get that you’re a six-time Super Bowl champion,” Gelb said. “But Tom, I don’t think you should forget where you came from. Yeah, Tom, at this stage of his career, is different. But for most of your career, people have prided you . . . on how you found a way to just get it done with not-great talent around you. Sure, you had your Gronk. You had your Randy Moss. You won Super Bowls, though, with David Patten and David Givens, Troy Brown. You won with the late Reche Caldwell, and then you also had Doug Gabriel. Tom, look yourself in the mirror. When you took over and you were the quarterback in 2001 . . . a lot of people didn’t believe in you. . . . So that quote on Stern did annoy me when talking about Tom Brady.”

Harry, a first-round pick in 2019, was not oblivious to the situation.

“He knew Tom didn’t believe in him and didn’t trust him,” Gelb said. “Think about that for N’Keal Harry. You get to walk into New England, a place that’s won six championships, you get to play with the great Tom Brady – and last year the guy wanted nothing to do with you. And now this year you get to play with Cam who is a very good quarterback, who has won a league MVP. Not as accomplished obviously as Tom, [but] Cam down deep knows he has to be Superman for this team because the roster is not all that great. Cam’s embracing you, and Cam’s trying to get the best out of you.”

Harry can sense that, too. On Tuesday, he said “It’s good to have trust from my quarterback. It means a lot.”

It isn’t difficult to read between the lines there.

“That’s a shot if I’ve ever seen or heard or read a shot in my life,” Gelb said. That’s N’Keal Harry saying, ‘Yeah, it’s good to have a quarterback who has confidence in me.’ He basically said, ‘The quarterback last year, he had zero confidence in me.’ Now it’s up to N’Keal Harry to step up and reward Cam for having that belief in him. And we’ll see throughout the season what N’Keal Harry can do.”

Newton, of course, knows from experience what it’s like to be counted out. He’s been injured a lot in recent years, and the Panthers released him this past offseason even though he still had one year left on his deal. Newton, clearly,  is motivated – and he knows he needs to optimize the talent around him.

“I’ve been very impressed with Cam in New England,” Gelb said. “I have. It’s only been two games. I’m ready to sign this guy to a contract extension. Yeah, he’s got to stay healthy, and that’s a concern. If he stays healthy, though, the ink can't dry quick enough. To have that bridge from Brady to Cam, that just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen. And I’m not telling you the Pats are going to be a Super Bowl team this year. I’m not even telling you they’re going to win the division. There is hope, though, with this team, and when you lose a player like Brady, you usually go through years and years and years of bad quarterback play. And for this year, as long as Cam stays healthy, you know the quarterback play is not going to be a problem.”