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Putting some perspective on Cam Newton’s Patriots debut

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Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton made the most out of another starting chance in Week 1.

It’s fair to say that Cam Newton picked up where he left off in 2018 with the Carolina Panthers during a stunning debut for his new team.

The legendary signal-caller parted ways with the Carolina Panthers following a glittering stint that spanned nearly a decade. Things were handled poorly by the organization regarding Newton, who propelled the franchise to superstardom and a Super Bowl appearance.

This is a new regime that has its own ideas, which is fine. But a large section of Carolina’s fanbase felt that someone who had done so much deserved better.

Newton was released at a time when starting opportunities were scarce. He was on the free-agent scrapheap for three months before taking a bargain-basement deal with the New England Patriots that included just $550,000 in guaranteed money.

The 2015 NFL MVP won the No. 1 spot in no time at all and put the NFL on notice with a sensational performance in the Patriots’ season opener against the Miami Dolphins.

He was efficient throwing the ball, completing 15 of 19 passes for 155 yards and no touchdowns. But it was his impact in running situations that really caught the eye and is something that has become a trademark of his success in the NFL.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels allocated 15 carries to his new signal-caller, where Newton recorded eight first downs, 75 rushing yards, and two touchdowns. This set the national media ablaze and had some Panthers’ fans wondering why the organization didn’t give him one more season after shoulder and foot injuries blighted his final 18 months in Carolina.

The former Carolina Panthers QB has plenty more to prove.

It was a superb start, of that there is little doubt. But let’s put some perspective on Newton’s opening performance.

This was the Dolphins, not the ’85 Chicago Bears. Miami gave up an average of 135 yards per game on the ground in 2019 and it doesn’t appear they have fixed any of these problems during a disrupted offseason of preparation.

It was the perfect game for Newton to come back. It enabled him to find his feet and have his way with a Dolphins defense had no answer for him.

Newton’s performance also took some of the heat off his distinct lack of options at wide receiver and tight end. Bill Belichick has remastered New England’s offense to make the most out of the quarterback’s exceptional skillset. But more is going to be needed when they come up against better defenses who now know that the former No. 1 overall pick might be back to his best.

Pro Football Focus graded Newton’s performance at 68.3. His QBR was 79.9, which was only four points higher than the man replacing him with the Carolina Panthers, Teddy Bridgewater (75.5).

There isn’t a Panthers fan who isn’t hoping Newton does well in a different environment. But after having almost no national recognition despite his incredible success in Carolina, one game with the Patriots has got him back to center stage.

Running Newton 15 times every game isn’t going to be good for the player’s health, no matter how back to normal he appears. The player is a violent runner who gives up his body on almost every collision, something which played a leading role in his eventual demise in Carolina.

We are going to know more about Newton over the next four weeks. The Patriots are scheduled to take on the Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, and Denver Broncos up to Week 5, which is a stark contrast in talent to the one he came up against in Week 1.

Crowning him as a potential MVP candidate and Comeback Player of the Year might be a little premature. It was a very good start whichever way one looks at it. But there is an awful long way to go.

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Atlanta Falcons have to fire Dan Quinn immediately

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Dan Quinn must be fired before the Flowery Branch employees show up to work tomorrow morning.

Under no circumstances should Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank allow this charade to continue. Blank has made a lot of threats over the last 18 months and it is time he finally follows through with some of it.

No one cares that this team was missing several starters that just means that general manager Thomas Dimitroff has to go too. Every team has injuries and Dimitroff’s ability to sign roster depth has been and will continue to be trash.

Dan Quinn has done nothing over the last 83 games to warrant retaining a job at this point. Teams from across the league are laughing at the Falcons while simultaneously scratching their heads as to why this team is 0-3.

It all comes down to Atlanta Falcons coaching and not just the head coach.

Dan Quinn has made a lot of really bad coaching hires and those hires have turned this franchise into what you see today. Raheem Morris’ defense gave up three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and made a lot of really boneheaded mistakes along the way.

Dirk Koetter is the worst offensive coordinator in the NFL.

They looked good early as they took shots and did a great job of mixing the run and the pass. However, in the second half, he had the Atlanta Falcons passing when they should be running and running when they should be throwing. The offenses inability to sustain a drive in the fourth quarter in order to put this game away.

Next: Falcons need to ditch their black on black uniforms

After opening the season with three straight losses, a change has to be made now. There is no tomorrow and while a coaching change may not change the outlook this year, the message from Dan Quinn is stale and there is no more sense of urgency that a team with this much talent should have.

 

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Buffalo Bills: Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano reportedly active for Week 3

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Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano are expected to be active this week.

NFL Network’s Kim Jones tweeted out this morning that both players should be ready to go for today’s game against the Rams.

After last week’s game, what Edmunds and Milano bring to this defense can’t be understated. The Buffalo Bills defense in their Week 2 matchup with the Miami Dolphins really struggled to slow down Ryan Fitzpatrick as he went for over 300 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Edmunds, who the Buffalo Bills selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, has been the team’s starting middle linebacker almost immediately and in his first two years in the league played over 90% of the defensive snaps.

As for Milano, he didn’t make an immediate impact but had a breakout season last year. The return of Matt Milano is pivotal for the Bills because one of the areas they struggled last week was slowing down tight end Mike Gesicki, who had eight receptions and over 100 receiving yards.

This week, the Buffalo Bills are expected to face another athletic tight end in Tyler Higbee, who is coming off a three-touchdown game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bills are sure to line up Milano across from him for most of the game today.

Next: 4 X-Factors for the Bills in Week 3

The Buffalo Bills will make an official announcement about both at 11:30 today when they announce their inactives ahead of the 1 PM start against the Los Angeles Rams.

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Chicago Bears: Mitch Trubisky’s career in Chicago is over

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Mitch Trubisky’s career will come to an end after a 2-0 start with Chicago Bears

Well, it only took two games. Two games with a 2-0 start and a better first half than bad for Mitch Trubisky versus the Falcons, but his career is now over with the Chicago Bears. Was it the right decision? As I write this, the game is still 10-26. Nick Foles looked okay on his first drive and hit some solid throws, while also throwing some ugly ones.

He threw a beautiful touchdown pass to Allen Robinson on the drive, but Robinson once again could not come down with the ball — interception and touchback. Going back to the first half, Trubisky was not perfect. He could not connect on the deep ball, but his passes were not off the mark. If anything, the receivers were not finding separation against second and third-string defensive backs. Why is that?

Was it Trubisky’s fault that the offensive line kept allowing the interior of the Falcons’ defensive line into the backfield as the running back was taking handoffs? I called it on Twitter and I will continue to call it until Nick Foles proves to me he’s worth the switch. Right now, I’m not seeing anything that makes me think Matt Nagy did anything but overreact to what might have been one of Trubisky’s worst interceptions of his career.

While watching this game, the defense was by far worse than the offense. The linebackers could not get off blocks, two roughing the passer calls that could not have been helped by the defender led to two impending touchdown drives. The Chicago Bears had won the time of possession in the first half too, so the whole, the defense was tired because the offense stinks argument cannot be made. The opening drive in the third quarter cannot be that same excuse either.

Here’s the thing, whether I agree with it or not, Nagy made the call and this will now be the end of Mitch Trubisky’s career in Chicago. I hope he lands with a team where he can sit for a year and take over after. How about in Tampa Bay while learning from Tom Brady? Maybe he goes to New Orleans if Jameis Winston does not re-sign in 2021? There are a few places I could see him succeeding and honestly, I hope he does.

Here is to hope I am wrong about Nick Foles

It is no secret I am a Trubisky stan, but I am a Bears fan first. I hope Nick Foles proves me wrong. I hope he can succeed with Matt Nagy and we are still talking playoffs in a few months. This is what I find to be different than most fans who wanted Trubisky to fail. Chalking this benching up as success is what sets this fanbase back. It is okay to demand better, but actively rooting against your team never makes sense to me. The team was not 0-2 or 1-1. The team was 2-0.

Next: When will Bears suffer their first loss?

As I stop writing, Nick Foles threw a great deep ball to Darnell Mooney that he could not hold onto. As of now, Foles’ deep ball looks better than Trubisky’s. Let us hope he can find consistency everywhere else. I will gladly eat crow if he can be consistently good in Chicago as opposed to inconsistently good (kind of like Trubisky) everywhere else he has played throughout his career.

 

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