Damiere Byrd Confident Cam Newton Can 'Adapt' to Patriots Offense If Need Be

Devon Clements

There's one player on the New England Patriots roster that has spent plenty of time catching passes from Cam Newton prior to 2020. That would be wide receiver Damiere Byrd.

Byrd spent time on Carolina's roster from 2015-18. During that time he was released, cut, waived, among other things, but he got to know the veteran quarterback and 2015 MVP, which is the most important thing that pertains to this storyline. 

During that time he got to see Newton adapt to different offenses, having Mike Shula as his offensive coordinator from 2013-17 and then transitioning to Norv Turner in 2018-19. So when asked during his video conference Wednesday with the media if he believes Newton can handle learning a new, complicated offense like the Patriots have, Byrd was brief but clear.

“Cam is a football player. He adapts to the offense," Byrd said. "I think that our coaches and team around him will help him take strides and move forward and be the best player that he can be.” 

What needs to be understood about Newton's situation in New England is that he won't be working in the same offense the team had been running for the past two decades. The longtime Panther is a very different quarterback than Tom Brady, which is why the Patriots would be crazy to try and stick Newton in a Brady-centric offense. That would be setting up Newton to fail. Because of that, the fundamentals and philosophy of New England's offense will remain the same, but the playbook itself will be specified for Newton or whoever becomes the starting quarterback, which offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels emphasized during his session with the media last Friday. 

That's why it's so hard to imagine that Newton won't be the Week 1 starter for the Patriots. Yes, he joined the team in late June and won't get any preseason games to get a feel for the playbook in real time. But having a playbook that is catered to him will be a bit more beneficial and easier to grasp compared to trying to learn one that is far from what he's dealt with in the past. 

Head coach Bill Belichick said it before the draft when talking about the quarterback draft class, but what he said also pertains to any player they have under center, regardless of their experience: the Patriots will put their quarterback in the best position to succeed, no matter the quarterback's skill set. 

That's why we should all be excited for what's to come with Cam Newton in New England. With one of smartest head coach/offensive coordinator duos in the NFL leading the charge, the positive outcomes are limitless for Superman in 2020. 

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Comments (2)
No. 1-1
Sam Connon
Sam Connon

As much as Newton needs to conform to the culture and identity of a Belichick-run team, I think Bill and McDaniels should be the ones adapting the playbook for him. Trying to shove a square peg (Newton) into a round hole (playbook designed for Brady) is a recipe for disaster.


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