By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Last year, during a painfully rough season, Cam Newton said that he tuned out the doubters and critics who were picking apart his play. This offseason, though, he’s listening.

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The quarterback — fresh off signing another one-year deal in New England — made that clear in a new Instagram video. No stranger to posting clips of his workouts, Newton walked up to the camera soaked in sweat to say that after the Patriots’ series of free-agent signings, he’s heard the questions about whether or not he will be able to elevate his own play to make the 2021 season a success.

Here’s what he said:

I been hearing it. I been hearing it, all right? And now, I’m letting you know that I’m retaliating. Not at you; because of you.

So once again, I’m letting you know, [wrings out shirt] that’s lemonade. You feel me? That’s hard work.

I’ve been hearing a lot of reports that’s going around that’s stating the obvious, ‘Oh Patriots are getting this, oh the Patriots are getting that. Now, the main question is, what is Cam gonna do?’

Ha ha ha. That’s funny. I would not have wanted it any other way. I’m used to this feeling. I’m not new to this feeling. One finger, one pinky, one thumb, one love.

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Newton, of course, has much to prove. While he had one of the best rushing seasons of his career (592 yards and 12 touchdowns on 137 attempts), his passing numbers left something to be desired. He threw for just 2,657 yards, with a grisly eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Some of that had to do with some obvious struggles from Newton himself, and he has since admitted that too often, he was thinking instead of playing. A large part, though, also had to do with the lack of talented pass catchers, especially at the tight end position.

But now with Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith giving the Pats a formidable one-two punch at tight end, and with Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne adding some much-needed talent at receiver, things should be different this season.

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That is, provided Newton plays better than he did a year ago. Based on the latest video, he’s already embracing that challenge.