Bill Belichick revealed his first impression of Cam Newton nearly two weeks ago. Now in the midst of training camp, the New England Patriots head coach has had an opportunity to see his new quarterback perform in a competitive environment. And on Tuesday, Belichick delivered a powerful statement about Newton that reflects just how impressive the former No. 1 pick has been in his brief time with the Patriots.
Cam Newton begins a new chapter of his career in New England
After getting greeted to a surprisingly silent free-agent market, Cam Newton finally found a new home when Bill Belichick swooped in and signed him to a ridiculously cheap contract. Of course, Newton did not have a ton of suitors due to concerns about his surgically-repaired right shoulder. Plus, he missed essentially the entire 2019 season with a foot injury.
Still, that did not dissuade Belichick from pouncing on an undervalued asset. By signing Newton to a one-year, incentive-laden deal, the Patriots scored a potential steal.
For Newton, the chance to join a franchise that demands excellence gives him a shot at resurrecting his career. An impressive comeback campaign will also set him up for a major raise in 2021.
For Belichick and his coaching staff, adding a player with Newton’s unique skillset represents a total 180 from the Tom Brady era. While Brady excelled as a pocket passer who delivered the ball on precise timing routes, Newton offers an entirely different element with his ability to run. Ultimately, both parties have the potential to benefit in the short term if everything works out.
Bill Belichick delivers powerful statement about Newton
Bill Belichick typically keeps things close to the vest. After all, he has earned a reputation as one of the most difficult interviews in pro sports. However, the Patriots head coach delivered a powerful statement about Cam Newton during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday.
“He’s a first-guy in, last-one out type of guy,” Belichick said. “He’s really studied hard and has 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.”
Belichick also referenced Newton’s athletic skills while maintaining that the Patriots have a “competitive competition at a very competitive position at the quarterback spot.”
Still, it seems unlikely that Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer will beat out a player with far more experience and upside in Newton. Even Belichick seemed to be in an uncharacteristically positive mood when speaking about his biggest offseason addition.
“It’s been fun to work with him,” Belichick said. “He’s a very talented player with a unique skill set. We’ll see where it all goes, but he’s got a lot to work with.”
Expect to see No. 1 as QB1 this season
While Bill Belichick rarely divulges any insider information, his strong statement about Cam Newton suggests a bright future ahead. While Stidham may be the long-term answer, his lack of experience and recent hip injury could result in a backup role this season.
If the Patriots want to win the AFC East for the 12th straight season, Newton gives them the best chance to accomplish that feat. He offers a vastly different skill set than any quarterback on the roster. And he certainly gives Josh McDaniels creative freedom to diversify a playbook that suited Brady’s strengths.
Newton has reportedly performed well in training camp over the last few days. Of course, his offseason work with N’Keal Harry, Julian Edelman, and other Patriots receivers certainly helped build early chemistry.
Assuming he stays healthy, expect No. 1 to open the season as QB1. Newton gives New England the best chance to win given his dual-threat capabilities. Plus, he has the mindset to handle the pressure of replacing Brady. A bounce-back season will lead to a massive raise from Belichick or someone else. And if Cam Newton can win a Super Bowl ring, that will further skyrocket his value next offseason.