The Dolphins have no one to simulate Cam Newton
Earlier this off-season, the New England Patriots signed former NFL MVP Cam Newton. After Tom Brady’s departure, the Patriots seemed content rolling with 2019 fourth round pick Jarrett Stidham. However, Newton’s low price tag and small market made him absolutely irresistible. If it is truly a quarterback competition in New England, Cam Newton is going to start week one against the Miami Dolphins.
New England will not completely remake their offense for Newton, but it would be foolish to think that they’ll simply just plug him in and ask him to do what Tom Brady did. There is almost a guarantee that Newton will run a heavy dosage of RPO’s and zone reads. Remember, when Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels coached the Denver Broncos, he drafted Tim Tebow in the first round. He’s been sitting on an offense built for a mobile quarterback for the last decade.
When playing a mobile quarterback, teams typically like to use a player to simulate that player in practice. It may be a running back or a wide receiver, but teams like to show their defense how much they need to pay attention to the athleticism of the opposing quarterback and also game plan a way to neutralize it.
The Miami Dolphins will open their season on the road against Cam Newton’s Patriots. The game is still three weeks away, but it is safe to assume they have it circled on their calendar as they desperately await to hit someone who they don’t share a locker room with. Starting in early September, it will be time for the Dolphins to start formulating a defensive game plan for New England.
If Miami wants to come out with a win, keeping Newton in the pocket is essential. However, if they spend most of their practice reps against Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen, and Tua Tagovailoa, they will be ill equipped to face a quarterback with the size and athleticism of Cam Newton. Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick can move, but Newton is a different animal. The obvious choice is Malcolm Perry, the former triple-option quarterback at Navy. He can throw the ball well enough that the defense must respect him. However, he is an entire nine inches shorter than Newton and is nowhere near as physical of a runner.
As of right now, the Dolphins do not have a player that can simulate the former Heisman Trophy winner and MVP. Miami ran into this same predicament last year. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had his two best games of 2019 against Miami. He extended plays to a tune of a combined 458 passing yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions in the two games. On the ground, he combined for 11 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown between the two match-ups. Miami was only able to sack him twice between the two losses.
Allen and Newton have virtually the same build. Both are 6’6” physical specimens who have big arms. They can make plays in the air and on the ground. Those are not the only mobile quarterbacks Miami plays this season either. They also have match-ups against Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray. However, because of their small stature, they can be easily simulated with Perry. The Los Angeles Chargers have two mobile quarterbacks. If Tyrod Taylor is the starter, he falls in the Murray and Perry role. However, if they start rookie Justin Herbert, he has the same build and skill set of Allen and Newton.
It’s easy to dismiss Cam Newton because of his injuries and attitude. A large portion of NFL fans have always harbored resentment for Cam, and would like nothing more than for him to fall flat on his face in New England. However, let me be the first to say it; if Cam Newton has two unbelievable games in 2020, they will come against the Miami Dolphins. They have absolutely no way to prepare for him as currently constructed.