For the first time in 20 years, the New England Patriots will be going into a season without Tom Brady. Although losing a six-time Super Bowl champion at quarterback seems like it should be a bad thing, the Patriots have brought in quite the replacement in the form of former NFL MVP Cam Newton. Newton might not necessarily be an upgrade over Brady, but Randy Moss still likes the move. As a matter of fact, Moss likes the move so much that he thinks the Patriots can make a Super Bowl run if Newton can fix just one thing: His accuracy.
If the former Panthers quarterback can improve that issue in New England, Moss likes New England's chances of getting back to the NFL's biggest game.
"Being able to have an athletic and mobile quarterback, that's something that the Patriots haven't seen in a long time," Moss said. "But now, you're getting an athletic and mobile quarterback, so the only question that we have is, 'How accurate will Cam Newton be?' If Cam Newton is accurate with that football, you're talking about getting back up there for another MVP, possible Super Bowl run. I'm here for that."
Moss, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who spent four seasons as Brady's teammate (2007-2010), also says that adding Newton to the Patriots offense will potentially make the unit "more fun" than it was when Brady was under center.
Basically, Newton adds a dynamic -- his ability to run the ball -- that Brady just doesn't possess.
"I think we are getting ready to really see how fun that offense can really be," Moss said Tuesday on ESPN. "Not discrediting anything Tom accomplished, because he accomplished some great things, but I think being able to have a guy like Cam Newton that can run the ball, they are able to spread guys out, and then being able to be that viable threat in the passing game that he can just tuck the ball and run."
It's a pretty solid point by Moss. During Brady's 20 years in New England, opposing defenses almost never had to worry about him running the ball. Since his rookie year in 2000, Brady has only rushed for 1,037 yards, which pales in comparison to Newton, who has rushed for 1,052 yards in his last three seasons alone, and that includes the fact that he only played in two games last year.
With Newton running the offense, Patriots fans are likely going to see the team do some stuff that they never saw with Brady.
"I just think that what we've seen coming out of New England for the past, let's say 20 years, there is going to be a change in New England," Moss said. "But I think we are going to see them have a lot more fun out there and Cam Newton is going to give them that opportunity for the fans, not just the New England Patriots fans, but the football fans just around the world to really see how fun this offense can really be."
If there's one expert on fun NFL offenses, that person is probably Moss, and that's because be played with several of the best offenses in NFL history. During Moss' first year with the Patriots in 2007, New England's offense put up 589 points, which still stands as the second-highest total in NFL history. Moss also played for the 1998 Vikings, a team that scored the fifth-most points in NFL history.
For the Patriots offense to be fun, Newton is going to have be good though, which begs the question: Will Newton succeed in New England?
Patriots coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have proven over the years that they can adapt their game plan to any quarterback. Since 2008, the duo has combined to go 13-6 in games that Brady didn't start. The big advantage of adding Newton is that opposing teams now have no idea what the Patriots offense is going to look like, which means New England will be going into the season with an element of surprise that they hadn't had with Brady in more than 19 years.