Can Cam Newton adapt to the ‘New England Patriots‘ way? That’s a common question you hear, and it’s asked in a tone that implies Newton is some sort of self-absorbed, stark-raving lunatic who has routinely rebuffed every sense of discipline or structure during his NFL career. In reality, that isn’t the case.
Newton’s long-time QB coach and mentor George Whitfield spoke with ESPN’s Tim Keown recently, and he wanted no time dispelling a few ‘lazy narratives’ about the man he knows as well as anyone as it pertains his job as a professional quarterback in the NFL.
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George Whitfield on Belichick’s Possible Pitch to Cam Newton
According to Whitfield, the pitch from Belichick to Newton could have been pretty simple. Considering how close he is to Newton, it’s not crazy to think, he might know the combination to draw his protege’s buy-in.
“Suggesting that Cam can’t adapt to Belichick is a lazy narrative,” Whitfield says. “Cam recognizes this as a singular opportunity. I can imagine Belichick telling him, ‘You have goals, and you have a chip on your shoulder. We have goals, and our shoulders look the same as yours — just not as big.'”
The Patriots and Cam Newton Are Both on a Mission
Newton won the NFL MVP in 2015 after leading the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 record and their second Super Bowl berth. Yet, after a couple of seasons that saw him hampered by injuries, the Panthers moved on from Newton when they signed Teddy Bridgewater in free agency.
As Newton said on Thursday, his signing with the Patriots isn’t about money (the 31-year-old signed a modest one-year deal), it’s about respect. Newton clearly sees this opportunity as a way for him to get back the level of esteem he earned when he was at the top of the world as an individual performer.
Newton isn’t alone.
Several members of his new talent have something to prove. Mohamed Sanu, whom Newton has already started working out with, might just be competing to save his job in training camp. Like Newton, Sanu was hampered last season by injury and it has many questioning if he’s seen his best days.
Second-year WR N’Keal Harry also battled injuries last year, but it’s time for the 2019 first-round pick to prove he can be an elite player. Veteran receiver Julian Edelman has never played without Tom Brady, and thanks to a trolling tweet from the latter, there’s even more reason for the fan-favorite to shine without the shadow of the GOAT hanging over him.
Even Belichick has something he wants to clarify. His personal greatness has always been linked to Brady, and vice versa. Nothing would remedy that thought process like success with a different man at quarterback.
Perhaps that man can be Newton.
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