Bedard: Cam Newton focused on the right things, but quicker progress needed

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(Adam Richins for BSJ)

You can certainly say this about Cam Newton: the man knows how to give a press conference.

Every time he talks to the assembled media across Webex, he's equal parts humorous, critical and uplifting. And it's not just the run-of-the-mill, "We need to get better, I need to get better," talk. Newton talks in specifics, which allows you to understand the lessons he is being taught by Josh McDaniels and Jedd Fisch.

And they are vital. How fast Newton continues to make progress could well determine whether the Patriots make a longshot run at the postseason or fade quietly into the night.

Of course, they will also determine Newton's future here in New England, but also for his NFL career.

The bottom line is you can't fix a problem unless you admit there is one, and Newton has been hitting on his biggest shortcomings in the three starts after Seattle and before Buffalo, when McDaniels obviously scripted a very tight gameplan for Newton and the offense.

The biggest issues Newton is still working on: