When there’s something wrong with your Patriots’ quarterback depth, who ya gonna call?
That’s right Patriots fans, while most of us had long ago moved on from the idea that former No. 1 overall pick, NFL MVP, nickname machine and football fashion front man Cam Newton was any longer worthy of a job for any NFL team things in New England have taken a QB turn for the worse.
Or maybe even for the worst.
Bill Belichick’s team has exactly one healthy quarterback right now. Four weeks into the season that is fourth-round rookie passer Bailey Zappe, fresh off his NFL debut at Lambeau Field where he actually acquitted himself quite well in a matchup with Aaron Rodgers, taking the Packers to the brink of overtime defeat before coming up just short of what would have been one of the more stunning regular season upsets in recent NFL memory.
Zappe was thrust into the trial of fire thanks to the fact that backup Brian Hoyer was sent to the sideline and then the locker room with a first-quarter head injury in Green Bay. Hoyer himself was making his first NFL start in two seasons due to the fact that Mac Jones is “day by day” with a severe high ankle sprain that certainly could cause him to miss multiple weeks of work even if we’re counting by the day.
New England’s two veteran quarterbacks are banged up and certainly more than questionable for next Sunday’s battle with the feisty Lions in Foxborough, Hoyer’s status maybe even muddied by the recent increased focus on head injuries and the NFL’s concussion protocol of late thanks to the Tua Tagovailoa situation in Miami.
Even Belichick couldn’t shoot down the idea of the Patriots needing to add a quarterback to the roster, or the very least the practice squad, during his Monday morning Zoom session with local reporters.
“Yeah, we’ll see. We’ll evaluate things going forward.
We’ll see where things stand. I don’t know,” Belichick said of the Patriots potentially adding another quarterback to the mix. “Today’s kind of the day to reassess things and figure things out. Talk to our medical staff. Again, postgame is, most of the time, it’s really inconclusive. It’s the next 24 to 48 hours. How guys respond, what tests they do and so forth. All of that information comes in usually well after the game.”
With so much uncertainty regarding his top two passers, Belichick indeed will need to figure things out pretty darn quickly. And he’s likely to figure out he indeed needs to add a quarterback to his depth chart.
Probably one with some level of experience or comfort in the world of the New England offense that he’d be stepping into. Someone who could get up to speed and NFL game ready in just a few days.
As much as we may hate to admit it, Newton is probably that guy.
Heck, Newton was at Gillette Stadium competing with Jones for the starting job little more than 13 months ago, until his “aura” and other issues kicked him to the cutdown curb.
Newton started an NFL game for the Panthers as recently as last Dec. 26.
He helped Carolina to a win less than a calendar year ago on Nov. 14.
Sure, calling Cam and Cam answering might take some pride swallowing on both ends of the phone line. But as the proverb goes, beggars can’t be choosers. Right now the Patriots are borderline beggars at the quarterback position.
Heck, the Patriots already broke the glass on Zappe due to the emergency in Green Bay.
Sad and as humbling as it may be for the 1-3, last-place Patriots, Newton is the best option for Belichick and Co. right now.
No, Newton isn’t still one of best 32 quarterbacks on the planet. Probably not in the top 64 or even 96. But those guys are all employed.
As Belichick likes to say, availability is the most important ability.
Can Newton is an available quarterback with knowledge of life in the Patriots’ offense, regardless of what the scheme and coaching staff have become since last he stepped foot in Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots are out of healthy quarterbacks. Newton is out of the NFL and out of options to try to revive his career.
It’s a would-be, could-be marriage made out of necessity and football mediocrity.
Pick up the phone, Bill. Call Cam.
It’s pretty much your only logical option.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and right now the Patriots are desperate at the quarterback position.