New England quarterback Cam Newton and the Patriots face Buffalo on Sunday and are in need of a win after losing three straight games. Stew Milne/Associated Press

Cam Newton is a hot mess.

Between his shoddy footwork, flawed mechanics, hesitancy in the pocket, and poor decision-making, Newton has been a disaster at quarterback the past few games.

While that wasn’t his look the first three games, it is now. He’s clearly lost. Any semblance of confidence the former NFL MVP might have enjoyed in the past is shot.

So how can Newton possibly turn it around, get himself right, and do so as quickly as humanly possible?

Let’s just say, the Patriots are on to Operation Fix Cam.

The Bills are on tap, and any hopes of the Patriots getting back into the playoff mix hinge on winning that game Sunday. And that means building Newton back up on the fly.


Coach Bill Belichick says he’s sticking with Newton because he’s the best quarterback the Patriots have. While that’s a sad commentary, it’s one the Patriots need to deal with going forward.

The Patriots won’t be winning if they can’t fix Newton and correct all of the problems that have multiplied in a few short weeks.

More specifically, the ball’s now in the court of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch. They’re in charge of Newton’s resurrection.

McDaniels and Fisch have to be miracle workers this week. If they have any magic up their sleeve, now’s the time to use it. Asked during a video conference if Newton is fixable, McDaniels did his best to put a positive spin on the situation.

“Sure (he’s fixable). I think you can improve in everything in our game,” he said. “It takes hard work. There’s no shortcut to it. But look, we need to get better fast. We need to be better this week. That’s the plan. That’s the goal.”

The sense of urgency in McDaniels’ response encapsulates the task at hand.


There are so many issues plaguing Newton, but the offensive brain trust plans on tackling them one by one, with the hope of not making matters worse. Although at this point, it appears Newton has already hit rock bottom.

The Patriots’ quarterback threw three picks during a blowout loss to the 49ers and got benched for his efforts.

On Tuesday, McDaniels suggested the plan was to go back to basics for Newton, and get him back on confident footing. Given he hadn’t spent much time on the practice field since getting COVID-19, Newton has developed a few bad habits.

So it’s going to start with his mechanics. One cause for Newton’s inaccuracy?

His left foot has occasionally been pointing outward, as opposed to the direction he’s throwing the pass. That has led to errant passes whether short or long.

“Quarterback mechanics are like a golf swing. If you take a little time away or if you’re unable to work at it for a little bit, certainly it could impact you,” said McDaniels. “I think getting back to practice and good habits and good routines on the practice field and working the drills that we work, I would hope that would definitely help any player, regardless of the position.”


Fisch, meanwhile, also sounded confident the mechanical issues could be worked out.

“When you don’t have as much practice time as he probably would have liked over the last three weeks, there’s some things that may or may not have slipped,” said Fisch. “We have to continue to build off of those. I don’t think there’s anything there that is a problem right now that is not fixable. He’s just going to continue to work at it and we’re going to continue to try and help him become better at everything he does.”

What about Newton’s avoidance throwing right?

Every pass he threw Sunday against the Niners went to the middle or left side. Nothing went to the right. The previous week, Newton threw only three passes to the right side.

Both McDaniels and Fisch tossed that statistic aside as being nothing more than coincidence.

“There’s certainly no intent on just putting the ball in a certain spot on the field. We’re aware of that, and we’ll make sure we do the right things,” said McDaniels. “I think the most important thing is to do the right thing based on the team you’re playing and the matchups you have and we’ll see how that all plays out this week.”


Part of “curing Newton” also involves designing better routes for the receivers, and establishing a more Newton-friendly game plan. McDaniels was cognizant of that part of the equation.

“The passing game is an 11-person product. Certainly, the quarterback plays a huge role in that, but there’s a lot of other people that have an impact on whether or not we have success. We can all do things better that we haven’t done as well as we need to. We’re going to work on those, and I know that Cam Newton is going to work on everything that he needs to work on to continue to be a productive part of our offense.”

Newton admits he’s been overthinking situations, forcing hesitancy and brain-lock. He has to find a way to make quicker decisions, and get away from all his hitches and hesitation delivering the football.

Fisch says it’s still a learning process between the coaches and quarterback. But he also knows it’s imperative to get Newton right, and get him to stop second-guessing himself.

“I think what Cam has always been able to do is make plays off-schedule as much or more than some of the plays on-schedule,” said Fisch. “What we’re trying to do is have that balancing act and help him find that balancing act and (we) as coaches also continue to build off his skill set.

“The rhythm and timing of the passing game is always going to be a little bit different when you’re playing with a guy like a Cam who has had such experience extending football plays and making plays that are off-schedule. What we’re learning through this process and are trying to fast-forward the learning as quickly as we possibly can is when to maybe say no, when to let a play die and also when to be able to extend a play … we all have to do a better job of really recognizing and learning how we can help him there and he can help himself as well.”


The season depends on it.

NOTES: The Patriots placed linebacker Brandon Copeland on injured reserve.

The Patriots also placed tight end Jake Burt on practice squad injured reserve.

Copeland has appeared in six games with four starts this season, totaling 10 tackles. He signed with New England in March following two seasons with the Jets.

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