Cam Newton Praised by Bill Belichick After Win in Patriots Debut vs. Dolphins

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2020

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton signals a first down in the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

One game into the 2020 NFL season, Cam Newton is already making a big impression on the New England Patriots.

"Cam's been great for us, he's a very, very unselfish player, a great teammate," head coach Bill Belichick told reporters after a 21-11 win over the Miami Dolphins. "He's earned everybody's respect daily. He puts himself last and puts his team first. I thought he played well today."

The game likely offered a taste of what's to come from the Patriots following the departure of Tom Brady. Belichick appears happy to base his offensive approach around what Newton brings to the table.

The 2015 MVP was an efficient 15-of-19 for 155 yards and finished as New England's leading rusher. He went for 75 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Brady, by comparison, never eclipsed 41 rushing yards in any of his 285 games for the franchise.

Newton had foot surgery last December, so one question throughout the offseason was whether he could still be the kind of dynamic runner he was at his peak. Perhaps his 934 career carries were beginning to add up.

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The 31-year-old wasn't having any problems running through Miami's defense.

It really shouldn't have been this simple for one of the NFL's greatest dynasties to replace perhaps the greatest quarterback in league history. Sure Newton was a distressed asset coming off an injury-riddled 2019, but his potential value—at the veteran minimum no less—was clear for everybody to see.

Perhaps this was a false dawn and Newton will go backward.

For now, the Pats aren't missing a beat without Brady.