Raiders coach Jon Gruden praising quarterbacks (or really, players in general) isn’t particularly new.
But he took it up a notch when discussing Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, harkening back to 2011, when he was filming television specials with the then-Auburn quarterback, before he became the top overall pick.
“I call him Slam, Slam Newton,” Gruden said, via Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald. “That was the nickname I gave him. He’s a power forward playing quarterback. He’s oversized for the position. He’s gifted so much athletically, it’s incredible what he’s accomplished and how his durability’s been.”
Newton’s final two years in Carolina were defined by the injuries that kept him from delivering, but he’s healthy now and looking sharp in a new offense.
“Cam looks like he’s the usual Cam. He’s a threat to do a lot of different things. It’s a credit to the Patriots,” Gruden said. “I think it’s a real credit to their coaching staff to be able to change gears that fast, that well. I guess you expect that from the Patriots’ coaching staff, but he’s impressive, and the way they’ve changed gears is very impressive.”
Newton’s running was a focus in the opener, but he threw for 397 yards in last week’s duel with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Being able to show different looks is anticipated with the coaching staff he’s working with now, and Newton’s once again looking like the guy Gruden was amazed by as a television analyst.