Brady vs Newton: Comparing the old vs new Patriots QB so far

By Brendan Beauregard

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Some points in life are inevitable: the day we get our first job, the day we graduate from school, the day we finally roll the dice and actually try sushi for once. Inevitably, life will come knocking at our doors from time to time, especially when your longtime franchise quarterback decides it’s time to go and a new guy comes in.

For New England Patriots fans, it’s been an adjustment not having legend Tom Brady under center in a Patriots uniform. They don’t hear his pre-snap cadence of “Green nineteen!,” “White twenty!,” or even the occasional sprinkling of “Alpha go!” in Foxborough anymore. They also don’t see him meticulously read defenses and make the necessary audibles, even if the play is already in motion

Brady, instead, took his talents and  “Green nineteen!” to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past offseason, and the Patriots now roll with a much different kind of quarterback in Cam Newton. Where Brady established his craft through precision throwing and knowing what cards the defense will play, Newton brings a more “White 80!” cadence and dual threat capability that New England hasn’t had in the quarterback position for the last 20 years.

Consider this stat from Newton’s first three games of the 2020 season: he already has 149 rushing yards for New England. With Brady, it took him a season and some change left over to get to 149 yards on the ground.

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Yes, the Patriots have only played three games so far this season, and there’s plenty of football left to play. But that is more than enough time to notice the differences between Captain Newton steering the Patriot ship instead of old Captain Brady. With Newton, the New England offense has seen an influx of read-option plays and shotgun quarterback runs—more of what is seen in today’s game with mobile quarterbacks. Did you ever think the Patriots would run option plays, let alone with the real-life Flash in Brady—if the Flash was slower than that one person in the Max trying to decide between Kraft’s or Annie’s mac & cheese, of course. 

Tom Brady’s quarterback play is like Bob Seger or James Taylor in concert; you know the performance, and you know it’s going to be great and steady no matter how old they are. It worked in the past with the Patriots and it’s still working out well so far for Brady in Tampa.

Regarding Newton, he’s more like Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix; there’s a certain brashness and unpredictability in his play. You never know when Page and Hendrix will play a wicked-long solo or decide to light the guitar on fire, and you never know when Newton will decide to tuck the ball and run.

Brady is a six-time Super Bowl champion and three-time NFL MVP, who is up there in NFL career passing numbers. Newton is a former MVP who has been to the Super Bowl before and just recently moved up to second in most career rushing yards by a quarterback. Both quarterbacks are good at what they do on the football field.

There are plenty of Patriots fans out there who miss Brady—this writer knows plenty of them. The chances of double-checking Tom Terrific wearing Buccaneer red now instead of Patriot blue will always be high. Change, especially after watching or doing something for a long time, can be quite the adjustment.

Change, however, can also be good when trying something new, like moving across the country, changing your career path, or deciding to go with a quarterback with a different skill set than the last guy. No matter how weird it is not seeing Tom Brady in Foxborough anymore, the change is working so far with Cam Newton. And it looks like it’ll continue to work out for the Patriots just fine.