Laird: 12 reasons why Cam Newton will be better than Tom Brady


Tom Brady is gone, and Pats fans need to move on just like their ex-QB did after Super Bowl 53.

Add up that need with the recent Cam Newton signing and Ken-sight at 2020 and you get this: (TB)12 reasons that Newton will be better for this team than Brady:

1 - Motivation

Sure, Brady is motivated now. But where was that in New England the past few years? Brady’s mind was on his 2020 relocation plan at least as far back as the summer of 2019... that is when Brady’s mind wasn’t on his business, his family or his next Kentucky Derby trip. Brady may not have quit on the field, but his preparation off of it was second-rate.

Enter Newton, who may be the most motivated athlete on planet Earth. He’s been healed (we think) and humbled, and is now desperate to re-establish his value. Check a recent Newton Instagram video or two and you’ll quickly see a highly driven individual. The Pats QB room is getting a breath of fresh air and a total rebirth of commitment.

2 - The Lamar Jackson effect

Newton was Lamar Jackson before Jackson was. At age 31, Newton won’t rack up anywhere close to Jackson’s 1,200 yards rushing from last season, but 400-plus-yards and five rushing scores would do just fine. Brady last cracked 100-yards rushing in 2011. It’ll be a completely new dimension for opposing teams to handle and prepare for with New England, even if Newton’s foot injury has somewhat slowed him down.

Plus, Jackson opened up the 2019 Ravens‘ offense for backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards to combine for 1,700-yards more on the ground. With Newton drawing attention his way, Sony Michel might just be a star, yet.

3 - An open Josh McDaniels playbook

Let’s really see what McDaniels can do as a play-caller. He never fully realized his Tim Tebow dreams in Denver, so let this be the O.C.’s fantasy camp. Sure, Newton will never be close to as accurate as Brady passing the football, but on the flip side Cam can make the Patriots’ lack of skill at receiver less of an issue by moving pockets and creating some sandlot plays. 

Dink-and-dunk might become a combination of chunk plays and RPO’s. Or, maybe it’ll be more like the pro-style offense of Norv Turner that got Newton off to a 6-2 start in 2018 before injury set in. Regardless, it’s a literal open book for McDaniels to write. Not to mention, Newton might actually be on speaking terms with McDaniels unlike the reports of a Brady-McDaniels feud at last season’s end.

4 - Willingness to work with young receivers

One of the more bizarre Brady developments of the last few years was a clear unwillingness to deal with young, unproven receivers. On one hand, he demanded excellence, an admirable desire to be sure. But in a year where a true unicorn appeared - a Pats wide receiver who was a first-round draft pick - Brady seemed incapable of showing patience to N’Keal Harry, let alone Jakobi Meyers and other young targets. 

Newton can’t possibly be worse at handling the young weapons, which now includes two rookie tight ends in Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene. Plus, by all accounts, Newton is not a sideline screamer, which should make for a tighter-knit unit.

5 & 6 - Youth and Personality

Speaking of forming locker room bonds, Newton is every bit the celebrity that Brady is in the football world. It’s already beyond apparent that Newton’s teammates are giddy that he is on the team. Brady’s reserved nature and grandfather years I’m sure prevented him from understanding his teammates in the way that Newton can.

Along with that Newton ‘swag’ comes a younger body. And while the Newton shoulder will be watched closely, fans won’t have to worry about tennis elbow or the art of falling properly when sacked, nor of hydration levels and pliability to avoid physical ailments. Newton is quite simply in the prime of his athletic career.

7 - Pocket bravery returns

No more chuck and duck! Brady’s ability to kill a busted play and avoid mistakes was legendary. It fulfilled Belichick’s desire to take care of the football. It also made for some boring moments and took some high-reward plays off the table. On a one-year deal, Newton isn’t the franchise yet, so the team may be willing to let him take some shots in order to make some plays. And Newton by default will be more willing than Brady to stand and deliver.

To be honest, I’m not sure this will make the Pats better on the field, but I know they’ll be more fun to watch. Which is really all I care about.

8 - A Belichick honeymoon

It’s Year 1 of the new QB-coach relationship. Anyone can handle Bill Belichick’s coaching style for one year, right?

9 - Newton doesn’t want to be the GM

By the end, Brady wasn’t satisfied being a cog in the machine. He wanted to be the machine. When the Antonio Brown experiment failed, Brady was on to orchestrating the return of Rob Gronkowski… in Tampa as a package deal. Brady moped just about every week to some media member or another that he was “just an employee.” We get it, Tom, you wanted roster control.

Enter the new cog. A superstar, yes, but a humbled superstar. Exactly what Belichick wants.

10 - Newton isn’t a Brady-level pitchman

Newton is highly marketable, dresses flashy, wears Gatorade towels on his head, has deals with big companies including Under Armor and Beats while being extremely popular on social media channels including ones that feature a bizarre text font.

Despite all that, here’s betting he won’t do a Netflix cameo for Paul Rudd during a game week to spoof Robert Kraft while emerging from a spa. He also probably won’t do a Hulu ad during Super Bowl week to steal the spotlight and play with the emotions of Pats’ fans. Somehow, with Cam Newton, the team has fewer off-field distractions.

11 - Alex Guerrero is gone

Have at ‘em all, Moses Cabrera.

12 - Better stats

For Newton to have a better statistical year than Brady had in 2019, here are some key marks he needs to beat: 24 passing touchdowns, 3 rushing scores, 4,091 combined yards rushing and passing, a 60.8 percent completion percentage, a passer rating of 88, one game-winning drive, zero playoff passing touchdowns, and 26.3 points-per-game (with help from defense and special teams).

Outside of the accuracy mark, I’ll take the over on all the rest for Newton in 2020. Stats are for losers, you say? Well then let’s settle for one playoff win, also an upgrade from 2019. Book it.