I talked with Jon Gruden today by phone about Cam Newton to get some insight from the former Tampa Bay head coach and Super Bowl winner who’s now a color analyst for “Monday Night Football.”
I will write a lot more about this in my column for Thursday’s newspaper, but I will tell you that Gruden absolutely loves the Panthers’ rookie quarterback.
“What Cam has done so far from a statistical standpoint has been spectacular -- absolutely jaw-dropping,” Gruden said. “I’m in total shock and awe about him. The fact that he’s had two 400-yard games already – and one of them against the Packers – I’m not sure any quarterback has ever started out better.”
Not that Gruden didn’t think Newton would be good. He did, and he became more convinced of it when the two spent about eight hours together one day for a show that aired on ESPN before April’s draft.
“From a talent standpoint, the guy is a physical freak for his position,” Gruden said. “I knew it would happen for him, but I didn’t know it would happen this quickly. But Cam has a certain degree of magic.”
That show produced one of the primary bits of ammunition for the anti-Cam crowd, when Newton struggled to come up with an Auburn play after Gruden asked him to call one as if he were in the Auburn huddle. Newton finally said, “Thirty-six.”
Gruden explains more about that situation and what he took away from Newton’s answer to that question in Thursday's column.