Well, we can say this about Cam Newton: he doesn't pull any punches.
In his first press conference since his own woeful performance factored heavily into the Patriots' 18-12 home loss to the previously one-win Broncos, Newton kept it real with reporters.
"I just haven't been good," he said Thursday. "I haven't matched enough good plays together for my liking. That's what it comes down to. When I mean 'good plays,' I mean right reads, I mean ball positioning, I mean making guys miss ... the whole gamut of how I play. I know what I'm capable of. My standard is extremely high and I haven't been meeting it, my personal standard. That's how I feel."
Well, that's good. As the old saying goes, "The first step to solve any problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem." Newton at least acknowledges he hasn't been up to par to this point, and hopefully, he's also being honest with himself that the Broncos wasn't the first instance — it was there against the Raiders as well. But at least his teammates picked him up in that one and delivered a victory.
Newton also acknowledged that with the team getting in a full week of practice, and getting several players back on the field, the Patriots' offense is rapidly running out of excuses not to be performing better.
"I’m saying we have a better preparation method with this week," Newton said. "Not making any excuses (for the performance), I’m just saying we put ourselves in a better situation to win. I’ll just say it like that. Not saying we didn’t have capabilities of winning last week, because we did. We had our opportunities.
"For us, as an offense, we know that our excuse basket is running real low. We’re getting guys back that we missed for weeks. Even though we’re missing a couple other guys, but we got enough to compete with anybody. And I mean, anybody."
That's great to hear. Tremendous accountability. Stellar leadership.
It also won't mean a lick unless the Patriots go out and win soon, starting this Sunday against a beat-up 49ers squad.
This is similar to the camp discussion about Newton's energy. It wasn't going to mean a thing unless Newton actually won football games for the Patriots — a lot of them. As we said at the time:
But at the end of the day, what’s important is whether or not the Patriots are successful in the first season after Tom Brady. I can tell you that, as long as Newton isn’t Debbie Downer in the meeting rooms, the team’s success will have zero to do with any energy or intangibles Newton brings Monday-Saturday to the Patriots. It will have everything to do with what he does on the field, and there is much to prove there for everyone involved.
Guess what? Nearly two months later, we're still there. The only thing is now, the Patriots are running out of time. For the first time since 2002, the Patriots are now below .500 in the fifth game or later.
And nobody's talking about Newton's energy anymore.
Now, here comes