Jon Gruden Has A New Nickname For Cam Newton

Jon Gruden Has A New Nickname For Cam Newton

Ahead of this weekend’s showdown between the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders, the latter team’s head coach has a new nickname for the starting quarterback of the former.

That nickname? Slam Newton.

“I haven’t seen many guys walk through my doors that look like Cam,” Gruden said on Wednesday.

“I call him ‘Slam.’ Slam Newton. That was the nickname He’s a power forward playing quarterback.”

One of the more compelling early-season storylines thus far has been Newton’s re-emergence as a top quarterback in the NFL.

Over his last few years with the Carolina Panthers, the former league MVP looked injury-prone and sapped of his athleticism. When the Patriots signed him to an incentive-laden deal in the offseason, nobody was expecting much.

Newton quickly exceeded all expectations.

In Week 1 he easily led the Patriots past the Miami Dolphins, completing 15 of 19 passes and recording two rushing touchdowns en route to a 21-11 victory.

In Week 2, Newton pushed the early frontrunner for league MVP in Russell Wilson to the limit – before ultimately losing to the Seattle Seahawks on the final play of the game. He finished the day with 397 yards and one touchdown through the air, plus 47 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Now in Week 3, Newton will look to do some damage against a Raiders defense that ranks in the bottom half of the league when it comes to rushing defense, allowing nearly five yards per rush, and 29th in defending the pass.

So far through two games Newton’s 75.9 QBR is higher than the one he posted during his 2015 MVP campaign, his 8.8 yards per pass attempt is a career high, and his 1.6 interception rate is the lowest of his career. Obviously it is still early, but so far the Patriots are getting their money’s worth out of their quarterback.

“Cam looks like he’s the usual Cam,” Gruden said this week.

“He’s a threat to do a lot of things. It’s a credit to the Patriots coaching staff to be able to change gears that fast that well…it’s all impressive”

The Raiders coach also couldn’t hide how impressed he has been with Newton’s durability thus far.

“I don’t know how he’s done it,” Gruden said.

“He’s taken a ton of hits in the pocket. They run power plays to the left, he lowers his shoulder then comes back the next play and throws a bullet. I don’t know how he does it.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has also been very happy with Newton in the early going.

“I think when you’re talking about mobile quarterbacks, guys that are tough to handle, can throw, run, make good decisions, I would put him at the top of the list,” Belichick said.

“Not saying there aren’t a lot of other good players that do that. But … I think he’s the hardest guy to (defend).”

This weekend’s game will be important. If the Patriots bounce back strong from the Seahawks disappointment and go 2-1 to start the year, they will have a lot of momentum heading into the following week’s showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Along the same lines, the Raiders badly need this victory. Games against the Buffalo Bills, Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers loom – so racking up the victories now is crucial.

The Raiders and Patriots will kick off this Sunday at 10:00 am PT on CBS.

Related: Doug Pederson Mystified By Carson Wentz’s Struggles

Jennifer Withers Hoey

Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.

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