FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is approaching this week as if his job is in jeopardy after being pulled early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 33-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
“The first thing I said to myself coming home was, ‘You keep playing games like that, bro, and it’s going to be a permanent change,'” Newton said Monday morning on Boston sports radio WEEI.
“You don’t need to tell me that for me to understand that. I get it loud and clear.”
Coach Bill Belichick had said he took Newton out of the game, with the Patriots trailing by 27 points, to give second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham more experience. Belichick also said he’s “absolutely” sticking with Newton as his starter.
“For any type of competitor, do you feel embarrassed? Yeah,” Newton said Monday during the radio interview. “I don’t feel offended by what was done. I don’t feel offended having this type of conversation. I’m a realist.
“I don’t fear my position stability more so than controlling the locker room. Performances like yesterday jeopardizes [that]. It’s like, ‘Oh my God!’ Players talk, and that’s what’s most important to me. Knowing you have your coaches’ belief [is good], but my belief is that I want to have the whole facility. … It doesn’t start with no miraculous play. It’s a whole body of work that goes into performing on Sunday.”
Newton finished 9-of-15 for 98 yards with three interceptions, and he said after the game that he felt he was pressing too much. He explained what unfolded when Belichick pulled him from the game, saying he wasn’t surprised.
“I’m coachable,” Newton said. “I didn’t want to put up a [fight]. How bad would that have been? ‘No, I’m not coming [out]!’ He came and said, ‘Stidham is finishing’ and I agreed.
“Whatever type of way we have to motivate ourselves, I’m honest with myself. That leaves no type of miscommunication with others. When the change happened, I’m stuck on the sideline listening to plays and saying to myself, ‘Listen, is this really how you want to do things?’ Until you make that step to get better, then that’s what it’s going to be.”
Asked if he’d agree that he might look nervous and scared at times on the field, Newton said: “Nervous? No. Scared? Absolutely not. Thinking? Now that’s something I could probably finger-point [as an issue]. … I don’t think we’re a six-point offense. If anybody is a competitor, they take it personal. Which I do.”
Asked whether he has experienced any COVID-19-related “fog” since his return to the team after missing a Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Newton said: “No. My goodness. I’m hearing a lot of ‘what it could be.’ It’s simple. I have to play better.”