As soon as Cam Newton signed with the Patriots many wondered if there would even be a competition with second-year former fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham for the New England starting quarterback job.
Most assumed the former Panthers star and NFL MVP would slide right into the spot formerly held by Tom Brady.
Then when Stidham missed practice reps over the last week due to a reported hip injury, it became an almost forgone conclusion that Newton would be New England’s opening day starter.
But, as ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso famously says, “Not so fast, my friend.”
According to former NFL MVP and current WFAN radio host Boomer Esiason, Newton still very much faces an uphill battle to win the starting job.
Stidham is going to start Week 1 against the Dolphins guaranteed?
“Yes. Yes,” Esiason declared before going on to explain his reasoning to his radio co-hosts. “Guys, you don’t understand how hard it is to learn a new offense.
“The one thing we know about Josh McDaniels up there in New England, this offense is about precision, and timing and understanding where everybody is on the field. I don’t care if you are a nine-year quarterback or a 10-year quarterback, it’s impossible to learn all of that and yet you are in the midst of a pandemic so you have no preseason games, very little practice time and you’re going to ask this guy to go out there and be your starting quarterback in Week 1? I just don’t see it.
“Just because a guy can run faster or throw the ball farther doesn’t mean he knows where he needs to be and where he needs to get it to. Just because he’s a better athlete. There is a whole mental side of this for every quarterback to learn. I’m not just talking about Cam. I told you my first year I had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately enough for me the first seven years in Cincinnati where I did play well I had the same offense every year. I had the ability to speak it, talk it, learn it and really understand what my coaches wanted. He’s learning now Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels.”