Was Jon Gruden Throwing Shade at Patriots’ Cam Newton?

Getty Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden knows Cam Newton very well.

Dating back to his days as an ESPN analyst and Newton’s time at Auburn, and an NFL prospect. The two men’s paths will cross again on Sunday when Gruden’s Las Vegas Raiders take on Newton’s New England Patriots.

During the customary media sessions leading up to the Week 3 clash, Gruden was asked about facing Newton, and his response sounds like a compliment on the surface, but perhaps there is something underlying that one would need to know the history of their relationship to examine further.

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Gruden Grilled Newton on His QB Camp Series

In Gruden’s position as an ESPN personality/analyst, his job was to create a classroom-like environment for his QB Camp series on the network.

Back in 2011 when Newton was set to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft out of Auburn, Gruden grilled the then 22-year-old in a way that was perhaps a little more strict than he had, or ever did with another prospect.

Take a look, and also take note of Newton’s response. Especially the part when he says, “I hear you talking.”

Could it be that Gruden simply didn’t believe in Newton’s style of play? Is Gruden truly in awe of Newton’s ability to play such a physical brand of football from the game’s glamour position?

Both are legitimate questions, but we’ll probably never know the real answers.

‘Slam Newton’ Feels A Bit Oversimplistic

There is no doubt young Cam was overwhelmed by all of Gruden’s jargon back in 2011. He’d never played in a Pro-Style system, but it seemed there might have been an assumption that he wouldn’t be able to make the transition and to learn what he needed to know.

Here we are, nine years later, with a Super Bowl appearance and an NFL MVP already on his resume, and Newton is perhaps beginning what could be the best year of his career at 31 years old.

Still, Gruden refers to him as “Slam” and likens him to a power forward playing football, and not a point guard which is usually the most transferrable position from hoops to a gridiron quarterback.

Newton works on his craft. His coaches and teammates will attest to that. One of the Patriots’ most respected captains, Matthew Slater, recently said this about his new teammate.

Perhaps on Sunday, Newton will show Gruden a little more than “Slam,” but at the end of the day, to borrow an old Raiders-related mantra, ‘just win baby.”

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