You'll have to forgive me for my first pair of back-to-back press conference posts. But these are unique circumstances. Bill Belichick's first presser since the Patriots reported to Camp Covid and Cam Newton's first availability of any kind since he was signed is a situation unlike any other in team history. So you throw out the rule book.
Anyway, a few random observations about Newton's first impression:
--For starters, Cam Newton is still gonna Cam Newton. If anyone thought the Patriots were going to unnecessarily make him conform to some fashion code like the Yankees, they were sadly mistaken. If he wants to rock a jacket with pink flowers and a scarf around his head like Katherine Hepburn in "On Golden Pond," he's going to do it with the organization's blessing. And any idea to the contrary is just pure ignorance about what matters at One Patriots Place.
--Second was his overall demeanor. This is a guy who is enjoying himself. You can't fake this kind of happiness. Believe me I've tried at every major holiday with my in-laws for the past 25 years. When he was asked for his thoughts so far, the smiles seemed 100% genuine.
- Of the organization he said, "I was blown away by the Patriots overall professionalism...it kind of caught me off guard, I enjoyed this whole process. ... I was in LA and it caught me by surprise."
- Asked for this thoughts on being in New England, he called it, "a breath of fresh air."
- Asked to describe sharing the quarterbacks room with Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer, he called it, "unbelievable," before calling them "Stiddy" and "Hoyster." Which is not only totes adorbs, they're the kinds of nicknames the Red Sox used to sell on painter's caps and sell for 20 bucks in the '70s.
Every instinct I have convinces me he's sincere. Christian Bale couldn't fake that level of enthusiasm.
--This is just for me, since I have a thing about detecting people's verbal tics. Once I pick up on one, I can't let go of it. And I realized today that Newton is an "At the End of the Day" Guy. A HUGE "At the End of the Day" Guy. Which is a thing that nobody dabbles in. It's a lifestyle. You either never use it, or you say it five times a conversation. He was using it in consecutive sentences. It's something I'll have to just adapt to it.
--While the Pats are not in the business of managing a grown man's fashion-forward couture after two decades with a quarterback who's supermodel wife often picked out his outfits, you wonder if Newton is being self-conscious about the words he uses. When asked to relate the story of how Edelman described the playbook as "this shit is calculus," Newton quoted him as saying, "Hey bro, this explicit is calculus." Actually using the word "explicit."
--He's also not about to talk explicit about the Panthers dumping him. Starting an answer about them with, "You know, I wake up mad. I'm a self-motivator." Before taking the exit onto the dreaded high road with, "I'm not going to dwell on the past" and wishing Carolina well and hoping they feel the same way about him. Then when asked to compare his new playbook with Norv Turner's, he gave the question a good leaving alone. "I can't tell you that," he answered. "Football is football." Sounds like he and Belichick have had "The Talk." That's a disappointment, but not unexpected.
--Newton slapped away any issues about his health after all his surgeries. "I feel amazing," he said. "I feel great. Not any different than any other person in that locker room, so extremely optimistic about that."
--Most importantly, on his relationship so far with Belichick, the one Kyle Love was voicing serious doubts about early in the week? "There's a perception, but at the end of the day [Author's note: See?], it's football. I've loved it ever since I've been here. ... It's just about finding your way to prove your worth on the team."
So overall it's hard to have first impression of the Man Who is Replacing the Irreplaceable Man that is anything less than a solid A. But I'm willing to go a step further and describe Cam Newton's first press conference with a term I use sparingly. And only for the most deserving moments.
This was pure Patriots Porn. I can't wait for the next one.