Norv Turner Gave Belihick the Thumbs Up on Cam Newton

Jack Duffy

The Cam Newton news was long overdue but many were shocked that the New England Patriots were the team to bring in the former MVP. Not shocked by the move itself but the potential that could come with a transcendent talent that is Cam Newton combined with Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels, and the storied franchise of the New England Patriots, winning six Super Bowls in the past 18 years.

The intriguing part about the potential of Newton and Belichick is the “what if” factor. The underlying reason why Newton was on the free-agent market for over three months - and the fact that the Panthers were unable to get any assets in return for him - was due to red flags centered around his health.

In 2018, Cam Newton was shut down for the season after his shoulder continued to deteriorate. Additionally, Cam missed all but two games in 2019 after suffering a Lisfranc sprain, ironically against the Pats, in week three of the preseason.

According to Sports Illustrated and MMQB’s Albert Breer, Bill Belichick called a number of coaches who have worked with Newton over the last few years, all saying they truly enjoyed working with him. One of those coaches happened to be Cam’s last full-time offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, who gave Belichick a strong recommendation a few months back, saying the pairing would be a great fit.

"My whole deal is when Cam was healthy, and we were there with him [in 2018], we were 6-2," Turner said Sunday night. "Just look at the tape -- played his ass off. His issue was more health than anything else, and from what I understand, I don't think these are health issues that he can't overcome. He's had the time off now. I think he'll be great… I think it’ll be really good for Cam. And I think it’ll be good for the Patriots.”

Before Cam injured his shoulder, he was playing some of the best football since his 2015 MVP campaign during those first eight games of 2018. He completed 67.3 percent of his passes (177-263) for 1,893 yards to go with 15 TDs compared to just four INTs. Additionally, he rushed for 342 yards and four more TDs on 4.68 yards per attempt. After his shoulder flared up, his accuracy dwindled and he struggled to get the ball down the field, losing his last six starts before being shut down for the season. Cam’s brief 2019 season did not help the cause as he was limited, only throwing passes under five yards.

Bill Belichick is fully aware of Newton’s impact when healthy, losing both previous contests against his new quarterback. In both wins against New England, Cam completed 41 of his 57 passing attempts for 525 yards, with six touchdowns and a single interception in those games. Belichick offered immense praise for the QB back in 2017.

“When you're talking about mobile quarterbacks, guys that are tough to handle, tackle, can throw, run, make good decisions -- I mean, I would put Newton at the top the list," Belichick said in 2017 before a game against the Panthers, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.

"Not saying that there aren't a lot of other good players that do that, but I would say, of all the guys we play or have played recently in the last couple of years, he's the hardest guy to deal with,” Belichick added. “He makes good decisions, he can run, he's strong, he's hard to tackle. He can do a lot of different things, beat you in a lot of different ways. We saw that in the game down there in '13, so I would put him at the top of the list. Not saying the other guys aren't a problem, because they are, but he's public enemy No. 1."

If Cam Newton can stay healthy and returns close to his early 2018 form then the New England Patriots will instantly become one of the most fascinating teams in the NFL in 2020. If things don’t work out with Newton, then it will just be looked at as a low-risk, high-reward investment as the team can just fall back on Jarrett Stidham, who the team is reportedly very invested in.

How do you think Cam Newton fits in New England? Does he start over Jarrett Stidham? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and discuss it with fellow Panther fans!

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