Cam Newton to Patriots: Norv Turner told Bill Belichick that QB can still play and ‘he’ll be great’

If there’s any coach who last saw the greatness of Cam Newton, it’s Norv Turner. Newton last had a great stretch of football in the first eight games of the 2018 season — which was also the first eight games Turner, then the Carolina Panthers‘ offensive coordinator, coached him. 

Turner saw a resurgence under Newton that the quarterback hadn’t shown since his MVP season in 2015. And it turns out that Turner was a critical voice in getting New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to sign Newton and bring him to the best franchise since the turn of the millennium. 

“My whole deal is, when Cam was healthy, and we were there with him (in 2018), we were 6-2,” Turner said to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “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.”

Newton was playing near a MVP level in the first eight games of that 2018 season, completing 67.3% of his passes for 1,893 yards and 15 touchdowns to just four interceptions (100.8 passer rating). He also rushed for 342 yards on 73 carries (4.7 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. 

Newton injured his shoulder on a hit by T.J. Watt in a Week 10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and injuries defined Newton’s next two years in the league. Newton’s overall play has declined since his MVP season. Over the past four seasons, Newton has posted career lows in completion percentage (52.9%, 2016), yards per attempt (6.7, 2017), yards per game (206.4, 2017), rushing yards (359, 2016), yards per carry (4.0, 2016), and rushing touchdowns (four, 2018).

Newton had been relatively durable throughout his career prior to the shoulder injury, but health will remain the issue for the former MVP until he can survive a 16-game season again. Time will tell if Newton keeps a clean bill of health, but it’s worth the gamble for Belichick — who has been a fan of Newton for a while. 

“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 prior to a game against the Panthers back in 2017, per 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. 

“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.”

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Written by Angle News

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