FOXBOROUGH – Cam Newton is going to find something out today, Wednesday, in preparation for his second game with the New England Patriots.
It’ll almost be like Christmas morning. But instead of being under the tree, it will be in a bound packet every week of the NFL season in the bowels of Gillette Stadium.
Wednesday is Game Plan Day" here in New England. And the odds are that Week 2’s Wednesday, will be 180 degrees away from last week.
Patriots players over the years admitted they have loved the intrigue walking into the 120-seat amphitheater with their notebooks. They loved the anticipation of what was coming for Sunday.
What changes, adjustments, themes, trick plays or, whatever, does Bill Belichick have in store for the next opponent.
As former Super Bowl champion coach Brian Billick told me before the Patriots-Rams finale in February of 2019, “Every coach in our sport tries to be balanced, unpredictable and change what they do every week. Bill Belichick is the only one who has pulled it off – consistently.”
I’ve stated this before and I’ll state this again: The 2004 Patriots held the No. 1 offense in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts, to three points in the AFC Divisional game. A week later in the AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, they put up 41 points on the Steelers.
Enter Newton and the Seattle Seahawks.
Newton almost teased us a week ago when asked about the offense and what the Patriots would have in store for the Dolphins.
“You’re going to have to watch,” he said with a huge smile via a media Zoom conference call. “Nobody knows.”
Well, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks have probably watched the Pats game film at least a dozen times, particularly plays with Newton.
Newton ran the ball 15 times. He gained 75 yards. He scored two touchdowns. The Patriots have none of that kind of tape the last two decades, or really four decades if you go back to Steve Grogan, who never ran the ball more than 12 times in a game.
The Dolphins defense was confused. There were four Newton rushes where he ran five yards before he was touched.
So guess what the Seahawks are spending countless hours studying? Newton options on running the football.
Guess what Belichick usually does in times like this? He changes course.
In other words, “Running Cam” is replaced, for the most part, by “Passing Cam.”
Expect the unexpected. Expect Newton to throw the ball a lot more than the 19 times — efficiently completing 15 attempts — he did on Sunday afternoon against the Dolphins.
Newton will run the ball. That is and always will be a strength because of his size and athleticism.
There will be in-game adjustments, as always, another “alleged” strength of Belichick’s, in which Newton could run the ball more if the passes aren’t completed.
We just don’t know what the Patriots will be trying to do with Newton until Sunday night at about 9 p.m.
Newton, though, will find out today (Wednesday) on Christmas in Foxborough.
You can email Bill Burt firstname.lastname@example.org.