And while Love thinks Newton’s arrival in New England holds great promise, he’s also unsure how it’s going to work out, as the demands of coach Bill Belichick are different than anything Newton experienced in Charlotte.
“Being a professional in New England is different from being a professional in Carolina. It’s a whole different ballgame,” Love told Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald. “Bill wants things run a certain way, wants things practiced a certain way and said a certain way in the classroom and in the media.
“New England is not for everybody. Every player does not fit will there physically or mentally.”
Specifically, Love wondered how Newton would handle Belichick’s willingness to single out any player for a mistake, as he was known for going to town on Tom Brady to prove to a team that no one was above constructive criticism. That’s not necessarily anything Newton had to endure under former coach Ron Rivera, according to Love.
“This is just my opinion, but I don’t feel like Cam can take the pressure of coaches talking down about his play. If he had a bad game in Carolina, the coaching staff wouldn’t say much to him because they may have felt he could be a little frail about it or maybe pout,” Love said. “They never really corrected to the point Bill used to correct Tom.”
Love was careful to say he admired Newton’s work ethic, and his game-changing ability which could be enhanced in New England. And he’s also heard that Belichick may have mellowed a bit.
“I’ve heard (Belichick’s) changed since I was there,” Love said. “That he’s kind of opened up a little bit, relaxed more and isn’t as strict as when I played. . . .
“My fear is, can Cam fit in their box? Because I want Cam to win. I want Cam to be successful. I want to see him win games and even a championship, because I love that dude. I just hope he can do that within the guidelines of what Bill wants.”
The first question will remain about Newton’s health, after he struggled through foot and shoulder injuries in his last years in Carolina. But that dynamic between the game’s top coach and such a singular talent will be fascinating to watch as the season develops.