Damien Woody understands better than most just how demanding of a coach Bill Belichick is.
As such, one question entered the former Patriots center’s mind after New England added Cam Newton.
Everyone seemed to wonder the same thing after Newton joined the Patriots: Would the veteran quarterback be able to coexist with Belichick? Woody, who played four seasons under Belichick, doesn’t sound overly concerned about the two being able to mesh, but he’s curious to see if Newton is capable of handling Belichick’s blunt critiques.
“It’s brutal. It’s brutal, man. You’ll be in that Wednesday morning meeting and, man, he will undress anybody. It doesn’t matter,” Woody said last week on ESPN’s “First Take.” “You know, I was there with Tom Brady, with Tedy Bruschi, myself, Willie McGinest — didn’t matter. He would have clips of everybody, saying ‘What the hell are you doing?’ Cussing you out, all types of things. That was really the first thing I said when I saw Cam Newton signing with New England. Is he going to humble himself and can he take criticism? The one thing about Bill: no one’s bigger than the team. It doesn’t matter if you’re the quarterback or the 53rd man on the roster. You’re going to have to be able to humble yourself and take it and that’s a question I had with Cam Newton. If he can do that, I think he’ll be all right because I think Cam feels disrespected and feels hungry going into this season. But that’s going to be a big factor.”
Woody isn’t the only ex-Patriot who isn’t sure if Newton will be able to take Belichick’s criticism in stride. Nose tackle Kyle Love, who was teammates with Newton for six seasons in Carolina, expressed a similar sentiment last week, noting playing under Belichick is “a whole different ball game.”
But Newton himself doesn’t sound at all concerned. The 2015 NFL MVP offered praise of Belichick’s style during his first media availability with the Patriots last Friday.