Tucker: Newton Might Not Start In New England

Cam Newton will likely start for the New England Patriots, but Ross Tucker explains why it’s far from “a done deal"

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
June 30, 2020 - 8:25 am
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The New England Patriots signed former NFL MVP Cam Newton to a one-year deal Sunday, leading many to assume that the Patriots’ reign of AFC East dominance will continue. 

But not everyone is convinced Newton will be a star in New England. In fact, not everyone is convinced he’ll even be the starter.

“I do not think that it is a mortal lock that Cam Newton is going to be the starter,” former NFL offensive lineman and current NFL analyst and podcast host Ross Tucker said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think he will be. I don’t know if it’s [a] 75 percent chance or 90 or whatever. I think Cam probably will be the starter, but there’s a lot of factors in play. He’s coming off of multiple surgeries, hasn’t played well since he first half of the 2018 season, [Jarrett] Stidham has been there a year already, and you know that the Patriots don’t ever look at things as just a one-year deal. They look at things for years in advance. 

“In that sense, they’d really be better off if Stidham wins the job,” Tucker continued. “They have Stidham under contract, cheap, for for years to come. So they’d really be better off if somehow Stidham played really well. There’s a lot of history of guys going to the Patriots with big names a little bit later in their careers and it just not working out as they thought.”

Joey Galloway. Torry Holt. Reggie Wayne. John Lynch. Albert Haynesworth. The list goes on.

“There’s a lot of situations like that,” Tucker said. “And with Cam, the most notable one maybe is Tom Brady beating out Drew Bledsoe, who, at the time, was the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. So we’ll see. I think Cam wins the job, and if he’s totally healthy, I’d be surprised if he didn’t. But I also think – if you’ve been paying attention to New England over the last 20 years – I don’t think you can say it’s a done deal.”

Stidham and Hoyer, it is worth noting, are similar to Brady in that they do most, if not all, of their damage from the pocket. Newton, meanwhile, is a threat with his legs.

“I’m as fascinated as anybody to see how Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick use him,” Tucker said. “He doesn’t have a skillset that’s really suited with what they’ve been doing with Tom Brady most of the last 20 years. I think Cam at his best, when he’s throwing the ball down the field, middle of the field – he’s obviously the best power runner at that position we’ve ever seen. But that’s also not the skillset of guys like Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. I think it’ll be interesting early in training camp to see how much stuff they put in the game plan, or at least they put into the offense, that’s Cam-specific versus what they have been doing. You’d like to think that if Cam is going to be the starter, the offense will look a lot different than it would be if Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer were the starter.”