The New England Patriots look like a completely different team this year from what we are used too.
One reason for that is the fact Tom Brady isn’t wearing a Patriots uniform anymore, and now Cam Newton is where Brady used to be.
It is still weird saying that last sentence out loud.
But it is here and real, and we all have to get used to it.
Particular for the Seahawks who face them this Sunday night, they are taking everything they saw from the Patriots 21-11 win over the Miami Dolphins and applying that to the game-plan for their anticapted matchup.
If the Seahawks can take one thing from watching Newtons first game with the Patriots it is this:
Newton is still running the ball, and so far, he still looks good doing it.
Newton racked up a team-high 75 rushing yards on 15 carries with two rushing touchdowns.
His 15 attempts were the most (by far) by a QB in Patriots history . For comparison just for the sake of it - - Brady never rushed more than 10 times in a game in New England.
Perhaps the more important stat, though, is that Newton's ground workload Sunday was the second-biggest of his career, trailing only his 17-rush, 107-yard effort in 2014 where he was 25 years old.
Newton is 31 years old and just returning from major foot surgery a season ago, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels knows that and wants to protect his starting quarterback as much as he can.
McDaniels on running Cam Newton 15 times against the Dolphins: "The goal is not to put anybody in harm's way. ... Obviously we have to be smart about what we're doing." pic.twitter.com/V3R0wORxOa— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 15, 2020
"I was aware of the number during the course of the game," Josh McDaniels told reporters Tuesday when asked about Newton's 15 rushing attempts. "I think what's really important is we're doing the right things, one for the players we have out there and then obviously for the team. If we're doing things that are going to put people at risk, then that's one thing that you've got to really consider."
McDaniels was quick to point out that Newton's rushing attempts could have been lower had he handed off to the running back on more run-pass options
In other words, on Sunday, Newton decided to run 15 times because he saw that worked best in the defensive they were playing against.
But is is Week 2 and a whole different defense that Seattle brings to the table, and depending on the manner in which the Seattle defense runs on Sunday night, Newton may decide to hand the ball off more to save himself the trouble of taking a beating.
McDaniels especially believes that a healthy Newton is the best and most effective game plan.
"I know we saw some different things (Sunday), but it's a function of what we thought we could do best against Miami.,” McDaniels said. “And now we're trying to figure out what's going to be in the bucket here against Seattle."
Newton will most likely not be running 15 times against this Seattle defense if they want their starting quarterback to last for the rest of 2020.
[Listen to the latest Talking' Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and guest Chris Simms!]