By Michael Hurley, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — Bear in mind, for those who can, all the way in which again to the ultimate days of June, when the Patriots signed Cam Newton out of nowhere. You’ll certainly recall that every one the way in which again in these days, the response to this shock signing was virtually common:
Nothing shall be handed to him there. He’ll must earn taking part in time. Becoming in below Invoice Belichick gained’t be straightforward. Changing Tom Brady is a tall activity. Who is aware of if he can deal with it? He would possibly get reduce. Invoice would possibly commerce him. A roster spot isn’t any assure.
We in the end gained’t be capable to reply a number of these questions with the 31-year-old quarterback till the Patriots really begin taking part in some soccer video games. However now, after studying the event that Newton not solely earned the beginning QB job but additionally bought voted a workforce captain, we should all see that it’s fairly clear that Newton has aced his first check in Foxboro.
Clearly, no person is handing out Lombardis for the work finished in July and August. However in Foxboro, that’s the time of 12 months when the groundwork for a championship-caliber season is laid. And what Newton has finished in a short while has clearly impressed his teammates and coaches.
That could be dismissed by some, contemplating — once more — that displaying up on Sundays issues a complete lot extra. Honest sufficient. But it is very important observe that this second by no means was a given for Newton.
Although it might not have ever felt like a “actual” quarterback competitors in Foxboro, the workforce did give Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer each likelihood to show to be extra worthy of the Week 1 job than Newton. The “competitors” half by no means actually materialized although, as a result of neither backup has comparable expertise to the No. 1 general choose from 2011.
Realistically, the one likelihood Stidham or Hoyer had would have come about if Newton was injured. He wasn’t, so it was no contest.
However the second a part of Thursday’s improvement is in some ways far more vital.
It’s straightforward to neglect now … however entering into the spot occupied by Tom Brady for 20 years is a moderately massive element. Tackling that problem will not be for everybody, and it’s not for the faint of coronary heart.
From day one, Newton has been unafraid — aggressively so — of that problem. And he’s seemingly not spent a single ounce of power making an attempt to be Tom Brady.
As a substitute, he’s proven as much as work every single day as Cam Newton, offering power and encouragement within the stretching traces, within the huddle, within the exercise rooms, on Webex calls and everywhere in the observe subject. His impression on the workforce was evident from the day he arrived, to the purpose the place his teammates felt snug naming him as one in every of their leaders earlier than he might even play a single reside snap in a recreation.
Even when this have been the Cleveland Browns, that will be spectacular. However doing that for the New England Patriots, with Invoice Belichick because the coach, simply months after Tom Brady left city? Its significance shouldn’t go understated.
In talking to the media just lately, Newton shared some perception on precisely how and why he goes about his enterprise the way in which he does.
“It’s extraordinarily vital [to bring energy to the practice field], particularly for me as an individual,” Newton mentioned. “Anyone who is aware of me is aware of that it’s all concerning the vibe that you must set and also you curate, and in essence, we wish to change that phrase ‘vibe.’ It kind of turns into the usual. Strolling into this locker room, it’s been such a very good power right here that I simply wish to guarantee that I do my half. And despite the fact that we might have a lackluster day offensively, it’s simply my job as one of many default leaders in my place to guarantee that everyone is aware of we have now to turn into higher. Now we have to ensure we maintain one another accountable. And that’s all I’m making an attempt to do each day.”
He continued: “So for me, irrespective of if it’s developing with a handshake, irrespective of if it’s simply leaping up and down, irrespective of if it’s getting in any person’s face to inform them a joke — these issues might come off as me getting different folks targeted and prepared, however kind of, it’s simply me holding myself accountable greater than anything. As a result of I am going by a code and follow the code of for those who say one thing to any person, you’d higher just remember to’re holding your self in test, as nicely. And that’s what I’m making an attempt to do.”
Newton’s management so far has been pure moderately than compelled.
“Nicely, that’s not one thing that you simply attempt to do. It simply has to occur naturally,” Newton mentioned of building himself as a frontrunner on the sphere and within the locker room. “And since day one, there’s been in all probability some issues that I might in all probability have stereotyped [about the Patriots] from the surface trying in, after which folks in all probability did it vice versa with me, stereotyping the one who I’m from how the media might painting sure issues. However on the finish of the day, you can’t be negated off of the particular person you actually are. That’s what simply occurs. I feel with our place that I play, not many positions in sports activities [make you] a default chief, and quarterback is ideally a kind of positions. So with that being mentioned, you must just remember to maintain your self accountable — larger than a traditional particular person. You wish to be extra of the chief that leads extra by instance than anything.”
Phrases are, clearly, simply phrases. However based mostly on Belichick’s glowing advice this week and the stamp of approval from teammates and the remainder of the teaching employees, Newton’s backed all the things up by displaying up early, placing within the work, and seamlessly integrating himself into a brand new setting.
Newton’s historical past helped put together him for this, in fact. After really fizzling out at Florida, he bought himself again into the nationwide dialog by main Blinn Faculty to a nationwide championship, one season earlier than main Auburn to an undefeated nationwide championship season, thus launching himself to the No. 1 spot within the NFL draft. He steadily ascended to 2015, when he was the league MVP and practically led the Panthers to an undefeated common season.
Although his Tremendous Bowl efficiency was not what it wanted to be, Newton’s climb from leaving Florida below inauspicious circumstances to becoming a member of the higher echelon of quarterbacks on the planet was the rarest of uncommon success tales.
Then got here the accidents, which set him up for this potential comeback. Whether or not he completes it will likely be decided from September by means of January, after which from January into February. Staying wholesome and taking part in quarterback at an elite stage within the NFL is a complete lot tougher than working laborious in coaching camp. All of us perceive that.
However for now, the one evaluation we have now of Newton’s first two months below employment of the Patriots is that he’s checked each field, exceeded expectations, and supplied a complete lot of hope inside and outdoors the locker room that life after Tom Brady is not going to be so dangerous.
Learn extra from Michael Hurley by clicking right here. You’ll be able to e mail him or discover him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.