Cam Newton Puts to Rest Perception That He Won't Mesh With Bill Belichick
"How's me and Bill Belichick going to mesh?"
Those were the words out of Cam Newton's mouth when his agent called him to tell him that the New England Patriots were interested in Newton.
It's a valid question to ask. An outspoken, exuberant personality like Newton's doesn't seem like a good potion to mix with Belichick's business-only approach in New England.
But as Newton said Friday during his first video conference as a member of the Patriots organization, it's been nothing but love since he arrived in Foxboro.
"I'll just say that there's a perception, but at the end of the day it's football," Newton said when asked about the idea that him and Belichick wouldn't mesh. "I've loved it ever since I've been here, I'm going on a week now. You hear rumors about certain things, but once you finally get settled in on things like that none of that really matters, it's all about finding a way to prove your worth on the team."
From a schematic perspective, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels complimented Newton based on the few days they've worked together.
"He's a smart football player," McDaniels said during his Friday video call with reporters. "He's played a lot of football, he's seen a lot of stuff. Guys in our league I think rarely have the type of success that a player like he has had without understanding the game."
McDaniels also said Newton is a great "communicator," explaining that Newton is good at relaying his feelings when learning the ins and outs of the Patriots playbook. That, McDaniels said, is a vital ability to have when a QB/OC duo is newly-formed.
The start of Newton's tenure with the six-time Super Bowl champions seems to be off to a good start. Those around him in the quarterback room are chipping in to help the former MVP learn the playbook, with McDaniels, quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch and quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham saying Friday they've helped Newton through the "crash course" of the playbook.
While good starts are always positive, we won't really see how things fall into line until padded practices begin, which Belichick said would start for New England on Aug. 17. It is only then that we will see how Newton's process of dissecting the playbook will transition to real-time, with defenders in his face and receivers downfield.
So far, it's all smiles from Superman.
"I don't want to say 'disbelief' at this particular point in time, but it's a surreal moment [being a Patriot]," Newton said. "Nobody really knows how excited I really am just to be a part of this organization, in many ways than one. Just following up such a powerful dynasty that is enriched with so much prestige and lineage of success. For me, a lot of people would hide from the notion to do certain things, but for me I think this opportunity is something that I wake up pinching myself each and every day and it's so surreal coming down One Patriot Place each and every day and seeing the whole ambience. Not only that. but seeing so much support around the city of Boston and Foxboro, it's such a great environment for not only myself, but [other] players included.
"I don't know when that moment's going to be, but I'm going to keep doing what I'm supposed to be doing while I'm a member of the Patriots so that sooner or later it will click that this is the norm."