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Cam Newton looks broken.

It’s not the first time that sentence has been typed or uttered. You’ve read or heard it numerous times over the last few years; but in the past, there’s been some obvious explanation for the struggles. Usually it was a shoulder, foot or any of the other injuries he suffered as a member of the Panthers.

Outside of a brief battle with COVID-19, Newton has managed to stay off the Patriots injury report, which makes his last two performances, both losses for New England, a bit harder to explain. It’s not just that Newton is playing poorly. It’s how it looks. When a player known for his exceptional athleticism and strength is skipping short throws to the perimeter, alarm bells will go off.

And with Newton denying any physical ailments, we’re forced to come up with our own theories for why it’s happening. Something has to be wrong with him, right?

Well, one theory picked up steam Monday when NESN’s Doug Kyed posted the passing charts from Newton’s two games since returning to the starting lineup, which showed that he hasn’t completed a pass to the right side of the field.

Cam Newton’s passing charts the last two weeks. Something has to be up. (via @NextGenStats) pic.twitter.com/2aLOkc2beT

— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) October 26, 2020

Against the 49ers on Sunday, Newton didn’t even attempt one!

If you’re an FTW reader, this is probably starting to sound familiar. Last offseason, I wrote about Newton’s struggles with injuries over the last two years, highlighting his inability to throw to his right, which I (along with former Wisconsin quarterback and NFL staffer Nate Tice) theorized was the result of his injured foot. With Newton seemingly ignoring the right side of the field once again, it’s fair to wonder if he’s dealing with a similar issue.

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Let’s check in with Bill Belichick and see if there’s anything to his quarterback’s apparent aversion to throwing to his right…

Belichick on Cam avoiding the right side of the field: “It’s important to throw the ball to the open receiver.” Adds that it depends on play-call and coverage to decide where the ball goes. #Patriots

— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) October 26, 2020

OK, so that went about as expected. Belichick wasn’t just going to tell NFL defensive coordinators that his offense was only using one half of the field, so I guess we’ll have to figure this one out on our own.

In order to do so, we’re going to systematically work through four questions and arrive at a conclusion.

Let’s tackle them one-by-one…

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