Quarterback Cam Newton, left, still has the faith of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. “Cam’s pretty consistent. I think he’s also mature and understands that his process each week is the same,” said McDaniels. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

The Patriots don’t seem to mind riding the roller coaster known as Cam Newton. They continue to support their struggling quarterback.

Along with Coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has now backed Newton, at least for the foreseeable future.

Asked if he had the full faith and confidence that Newton could get the job done as a passer, and could do everything that needs to be done in the offense, McDaniels didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“Absolutely,” he said.

Newton has had problems picking up blitzes, making quick decisions while reading the defense, and getting rid of the football quickly.

Newton’s effort against the Cardinals, throwing for just 85 yards with a pair of interceptions, and regressing to the same issues that plagued him weeks ago, doesn’t appear to have changed McDaniels’ view of his quarterback.


New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels talks with quarterback Cam Newton during a game against Miami on Sept. 13. Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini

Asked about Newton’s confidence level, McDaniels, speaking via a conference call, didn’t seem to think that was a problem.

“Cam’s pretty consistent. I think he’s also mature and understands that his process each week is the same,” said McDaniels. “He works extremely hard to put himself in position to be prepared to play the best he can play. That’s what his focus is usually on all week long. He doesn’t look back.

“It’s impossible to do that in this league,” he went on. “If you’re looking in the back the last two, three, four weeks, six weeks, whatever it is, it’s hard to continue to move forward and make progress.”

McDaniels had no complaints or issues with Newton’s work ethic, ability to take coaching, and desire to improve. The numbers, however, aren’t pretty. While Newton has completed a near career-high 66.9 percent of his passes, they’ve gone for just 1,984 yards. He also only has four touchdown passes with nine interceptions.

Still, McDaniels remains in his corner.

“He listens to coaching very well, he takes great notes. He tries to work on the areas of the game that we’ve addressed and tried to point out that we can make progress and improve on, and he’s pretty consistent as a human being,” said McDaniels. “That’s part of what makes him a good leader, he comes into the building every day, he’s got a positive outlook and positive frame of mind. He’s got good energy.”


McDaniels also stressed the offense isn’t just a byproduct of the quarterback. He pointed to other areas that have to be in sync including the offensive line, receivers, picking up blitzes, etc. And, he included himself in the mix.

“Passing the football well has never been one man’s job. We’ll never be that way,” said McDaniels. “So, we’ve gotta do a good job executing as a group, as a unit, and I have to do a good job of trying to put them into position to be able to do that.”

MATTHEW SLATER, the Patriots special teams captain, is not exactly confident in the league’s ability to contain COVID-19.

“I wouldn’t say my level of confidence is very high because I think nationally we’re seeing a resurgence in the virus and we haven’t seemed to have found a way to control it nationally. So I don’t think it’s going to be any different within the NFL,” Slater said. “Certainly everyone is trying the best that they can to make sure that we’re safe, but this virus, we don’t know enough about it. It seems very unpredictable and obviously now it’s surging again.”

The Patriots had a quiet few weeks on the COVID-19 front before placing Julian Edelman on the reserve list Monday afternoon. The team had an outbreak in early October that caused games in Kansas City and Denver to be postponed and wound up zapping their bye week.

Ultimately, center David Andrews believes, it’s up to individual players to make the best possible choices for the team.

“I think we just have to, each person, it has to be their responsibility that we try to do whatever we can to stay safe. No one’s really safe,” Andrews said. “Obviously this virus doesn’t care who you are or what you do. So we just have to do the best we can and try to be as careful as we can, and mitigate if there is a spread or anything like that.”

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