Patriots OC Josh McDaniels ‘Absolutely’ Has Faith in Cam Newton as a Passer

Patriots OC Josh McDaniels ‘Absolutely’ Has Faith in Cam Newton as a Passer

Elise Amendola/Associated Press

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Tuesday he “absolutely” remains confident in quarterback Cam Newton‘s skills as a passer. 

“The best part about Cam Newton is the only statistic he cares about is the one in the win column,” McDaniels told reporters.

Newton struggled in Sunday’s 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals. He completed just nine of his 18 throws for 84 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

It continued a season-long trend of the former Carolina Panthers starter struggling when asked to win games with his arm. He’s completed a solid 66.9 percent of his attempts, but he’s thrown for only 1,984 yards with four scores and nine picks across 10 appearances.

The 2015 NFL MVP has been more effective as a rusher, tallying 387 yards and nine TDs on the ground, and the Pats have tailored their offense to a more run-oriented attack following the departure of Tom Brady.

New England head coach Bill Belichick also downplayed questions about Newton’s work as a passer, however, pointing toward his 365-yard performance against the Houston Texans in Week 11.

“Yeah, we just kind of keep working to get better. Cam threw for 350 last week,” Belichick told reporters Sunday. “The most important thing is we made the plays we needed to make to win. That’s what the goal will be every week.”

The Patriots are still within striking distance of a playoff spot despite a mediocre 5-6 record, so their focus in the short term will be trying to start a winning streak for the stretch run of the regular season, and there’s little doubt Newton gives them the best chance.

Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer both struggled when given a chance to take over the offense while Newton was on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in the season.

The Patriots face several high-powered passing attacks down the stretch in the Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills.

So they’re likely going to need more out of Newton through the air in order to make their 12th straight postseason appearance.

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