Cam Newton redemption tour off to a good start in preseason

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton /

Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton seems like a different player this offseason after another strong preseason performance.

It’s only natural for Cam Newton to be written off after a rough three-year stretch thanks to injuries and a complete change in environment. The quarterback is facing a critical upcoming campaign with the New England Patriots with no margin for error after Bill Belichick allocated his first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft on Alabama‘s national championship-winning signal-caller Mac Jones.

This is a challenge the former face of the Carolina Panthers is responding to incredibly well. Newton certainly looked the part during New England’s convincing 35-0 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, which was another strong indicator that a bounce-back year could be in the offing for the 2015 NFL MVP.

Newton completed eight of nine passes for 103 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 151.4. In just one quarter.

More importantly, the No. 1 overall selection in 2011 looks healthier than he’s been in years.

Had Newton managed to stay fit over his final two seasons in Carolina, then the team might not have made the drastic move to release him late in 2020 free agency once they got their hands on Teddy Bridgewater.

A decision those in power would like to have back.

Cam Newton seems to be winning people over in New England.

There seems to be a different aura about Newton this summer. New England fans didn’t exactly take to the player last season, but they are slowly coming around judging by the energy throughout the team’s training camp in recent weeks.

Newton was playing at a relatively high level until COVID-19 threw a significant derailment into his production last time around. However, Belichick appears confident that there could be even more to come from the Auburn product with additional knowledge of the system and the pressure of a hot prospect waiting in the wings if things don’t go according to plan.

Carolina’s fanbase will always root for Newton.

He was beloved and lead the organization to some of their greatest moments, transforming them from also-rans to Super Bowl contenders and receiving a national media exposure that wasn’t experienced before his arrival.

Whether Sam Darnold proves to be the answer or not as the Panthers look for a long-term successor for Newton is the big question. The former USC standout is set to make his debut for a series or two on Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens, so it’s vital he gets off to a positive start.

As for Newton, he knows the situation. Jones is the future in Foxborough, so his objective is to keep on the sidelines for as long as possible.

The only way Newton can do this is by showing out on the field. Something he’s done well over the first two warmup games.

There is another carrot dangling for Newton in 2021. A potential start upon his return to Bank of America in Week 9.

Many believe that Jones will be the starter by then. Newton has undoubtedly circled this date in the calendar – the revenge game he’s been waiting for against the head coach that cast him aside without ever really giving him an opportunity.

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There is a lot of football to be played between now and then. But early indications show that Newton’s road to redemption is well on track ahead of competitive action.