Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Cam Newton is a “hard-working kid” as the quarterback continues to impress with his new team.
Newton will play for the Patriots in 2020 after signing a one-year deal following his release from the Panthers last March. He is competing to fill the void left by Tom Brady.
Asked by reporters about Newton on Friday, Belichick said: “Cam’s a hard-working kid. He really is. He’s worked very hard, I’d say, as all of our players have.
“I’d say that certainly for all the quarterbacks, at that position, those guys have been locked in, focused and confident in what they’re able to do and the information they have to give to the team — play-calling, adjustments, audibles, protection adjustments, things like that. That’s all going pretty well.”
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Newton, 31, spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Panthers after he was chosen first overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. He threw for 29,041 yards, with 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions, for Carolina. He is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and was named the 2015 NFL MVP after leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record and an appearance in the Super Bowl before losing to the Denver Broncos.
The Panthers made the playoffs in four of Newton’s nine seasons with the team.
In recent years, however, Newton has been hindered by injuries. He battled a shoulder problem in 2018, which helped to derail a promising campaign; the Panthers lost seven of their last eight games to finish 7-9. He played only two games in 2019, losing both, because of a Lisfranc fracture. Carolina finished 5-11 and lost its last eight games.
“He’s a big guy, that’s for sure — just his physical presence,” Patriots running back Rex Burkhead said. “He’s always been a great player, just [with] his versatility — his ability to run the ball and pass as well. He’s been able to do that at a high level for many years.
“He’s come in right away, head down, and tried to pick it up as quick as possible. … His first impact has been great. He’s just trying to learn as much as he can and mesh and jell with the rest of the guys.”