Newton Named Starter in NE
Cam Newton will start Week 1 for the New England Patriots, picking up the mantle left when Pats legend Tom Brady took off to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March.
Head coach Bill Belichick informed the team of the news at a meeting on Thursday morning, per the Boston Globe.
Newton was also named as one of the team's offensive captains, despite officially having just joined the team on July 8.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, it's "extremely rare" that a player is voted as a team captain in his first year with the team.
Then again, most newcomers aren't former MVPs.
The 2015 NFL MVP Newton beat out Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer to secure the job, which might have been a formality given his pedigree.
His 182 career passing touchdowns and 29,041 passing yards in the regular season dwarf the young Stidham, who has only four career passing attempts, and journeyman Hoyer (52 passing TDs, 10,274 passing yards).
And with 58 career rushing touchdowns and more than 4,800 rushing yards, FOX Sports NFL analyst Mark Schlereth believes Newton's dynamism offers Belichick an exciting wrinkle.
"Absolutely no surprise that Cam Newton was named the starter in New England. He gives Bill Belichick a weapon and an ability to attack teams that he hasn’t had in the last 20 years. This should be fun to watch."
Of course, Newton has some Tom Brady-sized shoes to fill.
The last time the Week 1 starter wasn't Tom Brady (save for when Brady served his Deflategate suspension in 2016) was 2001. Newton will also be the first quarterback that wasn't drafted by the Patriots to start a game for the team since 1993.
Coming off of a pair of injury-shortened seasons, Newton's heath was a big question this offseason.
The 31-year-old had foot surgery prior to the Carolina Panthers releasing him at the beginning of the year, but the Patriots seem confident in his recovery.
If all goes according to plan, Newton will be set to suit up against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 13.