Bill Belichick Gives Blunt Cam Newton Assessment
Bill Belichick gave a blunt assessment of Cam Newton this week.
The 68-year-old appeared on The Rich Eisen Show on Monday and was uncharacteristically positive in his evaluation of Newton up to this point.
“Being with him every day, he’s an extremely hard-working player,” Belichick said.
“First guy in, last one out type of guy. He’s really studied hard and spent a lot of extra time trying to learn our offense, our communication, our calls, nomenclature and so forth.
“I’ve been very impressed with that. He’s done a very good job of picking it up. He’s a very skilled athlete.”
This past offseason Tom Brady defected to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after two decades with the franchise. That left the New England Patriots with a gaping hole at quarterback that the organization did not look like it would be able to fill.
Up until early July, it appeared as though New England would be going with Jarrett Stidham as the team’s QB1. And while Stidham seemed to have a decent amount of potential and everyone was saying all the right things, it would hard to ignore that he lacked the pedigree necessary to lead a Super Bowl contender. And under Belichick, the Patriots are always a contender.
Everything changed on July 8, when the Patriots and Cam Newton agreed to an incentive-laden deal.
Newton had been released by the Carolina Panthers this past offseason, and he seemed like a natural fit.
That said, Belichick has yet to come out and expressly name him the former league MVP as his starter. He believes that Newton and Stidham being in competition for the starting spot is a good thing for all involved.
“We always try to add competition to our team and we felt like we’d be able to do that [with him],” Belichick said of the Newton addition.
Is Cam Newton Healthy?
The big question when it comes to Newton is: is he healthy? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then there is no quarterback competition in New England. He will be the starter – end of story.
Unfortunately, the 31-year-old has not been fully healthy in years. Last season, he played in a total of two outings. In the years prior, he suited up and played 14 or 15 games, but was clearly hobbled – and his play reflected it.
A big reason why the Panthers ultimately opted to cut ties with Newton after eight years is because the organization was not confident in his ability to stay on the field. And in new head coach Matt Rhule’s estimation, there was no point in hitching his wagon to a quarterback who very well could never fully recover.
Cam Newton Is Excited To Be In New England
If Newton does get past his injuries, he could be a force with the Patriots. His natural skills coupled with his desire to prove to himself that he can still compete at the highest level could become a dangerous combination.
“Now I have to prove it to myself, that’s a daily challenge and I don’t think nobody’s expectations will ever surpass my expectations for myself,” Newton said recently.
“I’m just looking forward to the challenge and knowing and picking up this whole system, not only the philosophical way of the offense, but also how things are ran.”
Most importantly, Newton is happy with where he ultimately landed.
— NFL (@NFL) August 17, 2020
“It’s just a breath of fresh air to be honest with you,” Newton said of New England.
“It’s a challenge that I have to expect each and every day. But no challenge is ever gonna be greater than the challenge, a personal challenge, that I challenge myself personally. We all know what that was and what that is and it needs no mention.”
Newton and the Patriots will kick the season off on September 13 with a game against the Miami Dolphins. How they look in that outing, against a rapidly-improving franchise led by former Belichick disciple Brian Flores, will tell observers a lot about where the team will end up going in 2020.