Cam Newton spent the first nine years of his pro career with the Carolina Panthers, but it sure sounds as if he is feeling good about his recent change of scenery. Newton, who officially joined the New England Patriots as an unrestricted free agent in early July, had only positive things to say about his first impression.
On Monday, he even went so far as to call the two joining forces “a match made in heaven.”
Appearing on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show, the former league MVP spoke about his first two months with the Patriots and about working under a new head coach. While Newton acknowledged that he initially did not know what to expect from Bill Belichick, he went on to praise the professional relationship the two have developed.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Newton. “Just the same questions that a lot of people and talk shows, gossip talk, barber shop talk, chit-chatter, text messages — they wanted to know, I wanted to know as well: I wanted to know is it real what they say about Belichick? Is it going to be too... I didn’t know. I think, honestly, it’s been a match made in heaven for me, just knowing that I’m at a place where everything is pulling in the same direction and everything is geared toward winning.”
So far, Newton seems to have adapted well to the so-called Patriot Way. Despite missing the entire virtual offseason while remaining unsigned on the open market, he earned not just the team’s starting quarterback job during training camp — beating out Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer in the process — but also was named one of eight team captains.
Along the way, he also was able to change the perception he may have had of Belichick.
“I think every type of stereotype I had about Bill Belichick changed the day I talked to him,” said the 31-year-old on Monday.
This was not the first time Newton spoke highly about his new head coach. The Patriots’ QB1 also went into great detail during his Friday press conference about the process of working alongside him. What he did point out was Belichick’s ability to teach and make him understand why certain calls are made.
“He’s an unbelievable teacher of the game, and I think that’s not highlighted enough — especially from a person of his caliber and his status, having the success that he’s had over the X amount of years that he’s been here, or even been anywhere coaching,” he said.” You understand why he’s so successful. And not only him but his coaching staff: he does a great job with trusting in his coaches to get the job done, and even in his players too.
“And it’s a common theme to get the job done, or if not they are going to find somebody to get the job done. And with that type of mantra, he knows that he’s going to be put everybody in the best position to success. You’re going to know why you’re doing certain things. I didn’t necessarily not appreciate it before, but I think that’s the biggest thing that kind of stuck out.”
Newton went on to talk about practice and how Belichick’s hands-on approach would help him get a better understanding of the offense and the situations it might find itself in.
“Just for him to have the understanding and wherewithal in all situations, it’s no wonder why this team has been so successful over the years,” said Newton. “You get to appreciate his greatness even more.”
Belichick himself, meanwhile, offered no surprising statements when asked about Newton’s comments during his own media conference call on Monday. Stressing the need for the team as a whole to get better, he praised the quarterback’s talent but offered little detail about the working relationship he has built with him.
“He’s committed and has done everything we’ve asked him to do. He works hard, he’s obviously a very talented player. Looking forward to continue to work with him,” Belichick said. “Just take it day by day, but he’s given us everything he’s has and we’ve tried to put the team in the best position we can competitively. We’ll see how it all comes out.”