Though he’s not ready to officially install him as the New England Patriots’ starter, Bill Belichick shared some extremely high praise for quarterback Cam Newton on Monday.
Belichick gushed about Newton’s work ethic, personality and competitiveness during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, saying the 2015 NFL MVP ranks in the “top echelon” of competitors he’s coached.
Here are the Patriots head coach’s comments in full:
“I can see why he had the kind of success that he had at Auburn and at Carolina. In talking to people that were with him there, the things that they said about him at Auburn and at Carolina from a decade ago or two, three years ago, or even last year, it was all the same, and it showed up here. He?s an extremely hard worker. Nobody works harder than Cam does. He?s here early. He stays late, and he works very hard.
“Some players like to work on things that they?re good at, like if you?re strong on a bench press, then you just keep throwing more weight on the bench. But Cam is the type of player that works on things that he?s not as good at and really tries to improve on a daily basis, and that’s something that I really respect about him. That?s not easy for players — really any of us — to do. Look at something that we don?t feel like we?re very good at or it is not one of our strengths and put extra time into it. I would say that is a natural tendency to do things you?re good at. He?s worked extremely hard in all those areas.
“He?s got a great personality. He gets along with everybody. He?s very social and has a great presence, whether it is in a small room of a couple people or in a bigger group, and he?s highly competitive. He?s very, very competitive on the field. He always wants to do his best and do better than the guy he?s competing against. You see that from — everybody?s competitive — but I think there are different degrees of it, and it looks like, based on what I?ve seen, I would put him in the top echelon of that.
“But his competition extends way beyond the field. It’s off the field and in meetings and training and so forth. It’s important for him to be the first guy up the hill when we run sprints, and it’s important to him to be first in everything that he competes in. You can see the effort and the amount of energy that he puts into that. I?d say those are some of the things that have jumped out in the month or so that we’ve been here in person.”
Newton, who’s entering his first season in New England after nine with the Carolina Panthers, is the clear favorite for the Patriots’ starting QB job after commanding significantly more reps than Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer in camp.
Belichick declined to officially announce a winner in this lopsided roster battle during his Monday morning video conference.
“When we’re ready to do it, we’ll do it,” he said.
Newton missed Monday’s Patriots practice, reportedly for an excused absence.
Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots