Earlier today I brought you yet another story of hope in what has largely been a morose, godforsaken offseason with all the joy of ... well, everything else in 2020. But the kind of sign things have turned around for the Patriots ever since the Cam Newton signing:
Well we already have an update. And it comes from an intrepid, sharp-eyed reporter who was on the scene in California. And by "reporter," I mean this apparently middle school aged kid who was on hand:
Amir! My man! Coming out of nowhere to get the scoop that usually gets broken by Adam Schefter (if it's good news for New England) or Chris Mortensen and Seth Wickersham (if it's bad and largely untrue). And unlike those ESPN guys who get fed stories favorable to whomever wants them leaked, this journo was boots on the ground, getting the story himself while the rest of the world was napping. Great job.
And for New England, the dopamine just keeps getting pumped into our neural pathways, thanks to the work Newton is putting in getting himself and anyone who can make it to his dojo ready for training camp.
I'm assuming Newton is inviting every potential teammate, and it's a matter of who's physically able to travel to LA with the restrictions still in place. Devin Asiasi went to UCLA. Harry went to Arizona St. Mohamed Sanu was doing a lot of his training out there even before Newton signed. Which means so far Newton has now worked with three of his targets, that we know about.
This Asiasi news is especially welcome because, while he doesn't have the pressure on him that Harry or Newton do, his development in the passing game is going to be critical. The tight end group last year contributed nothing. Combined they totaled about what a healthy Rob Gronkowski used to give you in an average month. An offense that used to steamroll the league with two receiving tight ends became a one tight end attack in 2018 and then degenerated into essentially a zero TE scheme last year and the scoreboard reflected it.
Getting Asiasi - the second tight end to come off the board in this year's draft up to speed and mentally synced up with Newton will be huge. Newton loves looking for his tight end. From Newton's second season in Carolina in 2012 until the time Greg Olsen started breaking down in 2017, the two connected for an average of 118 completions per year. With three straight seasons in the 120s. Gronk is the best tight end of all time, and his career high is 90. If Asiasi can even approach what Olsen brought to the Panthers, it'll give Josh McDaniels a dimension he simply hasn't had to work with since Gronk's last reasonably healthy season in 2017.
So yes, Asiasi and Newton working out in the second week of July is a big deal. I'd love it if the fourth tight end to be drafted could be there too. But he's back East and travel is hard now. But at least we know he's got a hair across his ass about Skip Bayless not knowing who he and Asiasi are. So that's a plus at least.Keep the doubt coming. And keep the workout seshs coming as well.