BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are 2-3 in October for the first time in nearly two decades. An 18-12 loss to the Denver Broncos at Gillette on Sunday, where New England’s offense couldn’t get much of anything going until late in the game, has brought on a “the sky is falling!” type feel with the team.
But quarterback Cam Newton says that’s OK. He’s got his umbrella and rain jacket and is ready for the storm ahead. He’s confident that a good week of practice — which the Patriots will hopefully have this week after practicing just once over the last two weeks due to COVID-19 concerns — will put them in a good spot for next Sunday’s tilt against the San Francisco 49ers.
That is where Newton’s focus is on Monday morning. It’s not on how the team can go on a playoff run after a 2-3 start; just on how they can be better next weekend.
“That is my last worry right now,” Newton said of a playoff run when asked on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show on Monday morning. “For us here, moving forward, we have no room to look through a telescope. Our focus should be with a microscope finding ways to be better day by day. The next game and each opportunity.
“None of us want to take our energy and focus to that point,” he added. “We want to maximize things here day by day and see where that takes us.”
Sunday’s loss was Newton’s first game since Sept. 27 after he tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago. He was noticeably rusty for most of of the day on Sunday, holding on to the ball for way too long on a number of different occasions. And with a patchwork offensive line protecting him, that led to some major issues for the offense.
Newton called the game a “sloppy display of football,” and hopes that everyone’s timing is much better next weekend after the team –hopefully — gets in a full week of practice.
“I just have to be better and I can’t stress that enough moving forward. Like I mentioned earlier, there was the lack of practice being evident. Timing was off, and the anticipation was off. That was the biggest discrepancy not having practice,” he said. “Usually you can throw it way before the receiver is looking for it and be on the money. But not having practice as long as I did was evident. But I’m moving forward and I can’t wait.
“It comes down to situational football. There are times yesterday where the ball could have been a little more accurate. There are times when controlling audibles or playing faster, and not being hesitant with my reads. I went to the right play but it happened a millisecond too late,” he explained. “In this game it’s not necessarily who is better, but who reacts faster.”
New England’s ground game struggled against Denver’s defense, and Newton got nothing out of his top two receivers, with Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry combining for just two catches (both by Edelman) on eight targets. But again, Newton isn’t worried about the team’s lack of production on Sunday, confident that a good week of prep work will have the offense ready to fire on all cylinders against San Francisco.
“There’s no need to press the panic button or to start reinventing the wheel. We have the answers in that locker room,” said Newton. “Some guys are coming back and some guys are on the mend. I know that looking at eyeballs in the locker room and the competitiveness of the people who seize the moment, we will get that job done.”