Rodney Harrison Surprised by the Patriots Cutting Cam Newton but Understands Why
A year ago, Cam Newton was a rookie quarterback making his way through the NFL. Today, he’s a free agent making his way through the same league, and his former team is cutting him. In a way, Newton is getting cut from the same team that drafted him, the Carolina Panthers. But while the 26-year-old Newton is a free agent, the Panthers are also a free agent, and they have a decision to make on him.
The New England Patriots have announced that they will be cutting their second-round pick, quarterback Cam Newton, who was the original choice for the Patriots but was traded to the Panthers. Many of Newton’s former teammates did not take the news well, especially tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was somewhat of a mentor to him.
I’m sure it wasn’t much fun listening to wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea say that the Patriots won’t limit the quarterback’s “movement in the pocket” when he was in the news conference announcing the cuts to make room for the rookies. But, in hindsight, it’s not surprising that Bill Belichick took this step.
Rodney Harrison played with the New England Patriots for the last six years of his 15-year NFL career. From playing for Bill Belichick to criticizing him in the booth, the NBC Sports football analyst has come a long way. During training camp, Belichick said that Cam Newton will be his starting quarterback, with youngster Mac Jones filling in if necessary.
Newton was released by the Patriots last week. Even Harrison, who previously said that he thought Jones should start, was taken aback by the decision, but he since stated that he understood why it occurred.
Rodney Harrison has always thought Mac Jones was ready to take over as the starting quarterback.
On August 19, 2021, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cam Newton of the New England Patriots scores against the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles were beaten 35-0 by the Patriots. Getty Images/Mitchell Leff
When Newton took over for the departing Tom Brady a year ago, he was under duress after a difficult season. Add in the fact that Jones was drafted first overall by the Patriots. Despite the fact that Belichick had designated Newton the starting quarterback throughout training camp, Newton was on the hot seat. All of that changed last week when Newton was released suddenly by the Patriots.
Jones piled on the pressure with good performances throughout camp. In the last preseason game, he outperformed Newton by completing 10 of 14 passes for 156 yards and a score. Newton threw for 10 yards on two of his five passes. He also had a pass breakup.
According to WEEI, Harrison stated on an NBC conference this week, “I think first and foremost, I feel, and I said it the whole time, that I felt like Mac Jones was ready.” “As a quarterback, he was everything the Patriots desired and needed.”
Rodney Harrison explained why Cam Newton was dismissed.
When Harrison learned that the Patriots had dismissed him, he acknowledged that he was shocked. Despite his surprise, he stated he understood why the team took the decision.
“Did I believe Cam was going to be fired? He said, “No, but I understand why.” “For starters, it’s possible that it’s because he wasn’t vaccinated, which should be a worry for most, if not all, teams. It will impact the team’s dynamic if your leader, your quarterback, is not immunized. But I felt Coach Belichick emphasized what he said about doing what’s best for the team and having each player earn his spot.”
Whether or not vaccination, or the lack thereof, had a part in Newton’s dismissal, the former Pro-Bowl defensive back believes there was another factor at play.
“You don’t want a 10-year veteran or whatever many years Cam had played behind him looking over his shoulder when you have a young kid like Mac,” he added. ‘However, Cam will be alright.’ He’s amassed a considerable fortune. In his career, he’s accomplished a lot.”
Harrison compares Jones to Tom Brady.
Newton was re-signed by the Patriots to serve as a bridge quarterback until Jones was ready. Jones seems to have crossed that barrier with his play last week in the Patriots’ 22-20 victory against the New York Giants. Jones obviously impressed the Patriots enough for them to release Newton.
Jones, according to Harrison, reminded him a lot of Brady.
“I suppose sometimes when I watch him play, I wonder to myself, ‘What if that zero on his shirt was a 2?’ he stated “Then he’d have Tom Brady’s physique. He’d have the appearance of a young Tom Brady. Their offense was never restricted with Mac Jones because they had so much faith in him early on, putting him in a no-huddle and giving him various things.”
Harrison did express surprise and disappointment with Belichick’s decision to name Newton the starter during training camp.
He stated, “I was upset with Coach Belichick earlier when he announced Cam Newton would be the starting quarterback.” “I didn’t believe it because I think everyone should compete, and he promised that when I first came in in 2003. Hey, you create the depth chart, he adds, putting up a chart. Giving someone a job isn’t the point. It all boils down to getting a job.”
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