- Covered Patriots since 1997
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, whose 15 rushing attempts in Sunday’s season-opening win were his second-highest total in a game in his career, said he isn’t concerned about the injury risk if the trend continues.
“That’s just been me. Every year, a new discussion comes up of ‘It’s not smart to run. It’s not smart to do this. It’s not smart to do that.’ But at the end of the day, I just feel as if whatever necessary way you have to go about winning a football game, that’s what you have to do,” Newton said Monday morning on sports radio WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”
“There’s many different ways to attack a defense, and having a quarterback run is just another added dimension that a lot of teams can’t have. Yet through it all, I have to make a contentious decision each and every time I do run the ball to be smart. Not to get ahead of myself and trying to prove a point. As long as I run, and take care of myself and get down when need be, then I feel like everything will be OK.”
Newton’s 75 rushing yards in Sunday’s victory over the Miami Dolphins were the most by a Patriots quarterback since Steve Grogan had 81 against the Buffalo Bills in the 1977 season.
Newton didn’t take big hits after the majority of his runs, but after missing most of the 2019 season because of a Lisfranc injury to his left foot, which came after a 2018 campaign that ended two games early ahead of surgery on his right shoulder, Newton knows that all it takes is one to alter everything. Thus, he’s focused more on sliding.
“That’s how my running style has morphed over the years. I just feel like I’ve gotten better at it — from the time I got into the league to the time now, people always see the running amount, but at the same time, the toll on a runner is not the same as a running back, so to speak,” he said on WEEI.
“Quarterbacks, all alike, have an invisible rule to be able to get down in the open field rather than finish the run as other positions would like to do. Either I’m the hammer and not the nail — delivering the blow. Or at the end of the day, I can get down and, like they all say, live to fight another day.”
Newton, whose previous regular-season game had been Sept. 12, 2019, acknowledged that he was feeling the aftereffects of some contact.
“I think I missed this victoriously sore feeling,” he said.
The Patriots ran the ball by design on 65% of their plays Sunday, which was their highest rate in any game since the 2008 regular-season finale, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information.
Furthermore, Newton’s 13 designed runs were the second-most of his career, per ESPN Stats & Info.
“Some of those runs were option-type runs, so we don’t know who’s going to get the ball; depends on how the defense plays it,” coach Bill Belichick said Monday. “That’s just an unpredictable part of that play [so] I think those numbers are, with all due respect, a little bit skewed. We’ll see how teams play us going forward on those type of plays if we run those again.
“I don’t know, we’ll do what’s best each week for the team that we’re playing and how we feel like we can attack them.”
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