New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman said Monday that there’s no looking back after Tom Brady‘s free-agency departure and that the team has received a boost of energy from Cam Newton‘s arrival.
“Obviously we played a lot of football together and I love him to death, but the train keeps moving, as it will when I’m not playing here,” Edelman said of Brady in his first interview with reporters since January.
“Obviously it was a little different scenario, but you got to move on and understand it’s the business. You have to worry about the people we have here, and try to prepare ourselves the best we can.”
One of those teammates is Newton, who made an immediate impression on Edelman when they worked out together in Los Angeles in July.
“When you first meet him, just his stature. He’s large — put together well,” Edelman said. “He has a great energy about himself. I was really impressed with his work ethic and mindset.”
Newton, who is 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, often makes big plays with his legs, in contrast with the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Brady, who’s a pocket passer.
One theme that resonated among Edelman and Patriots players is that Newton has added a spark — and intriguing X’s and O’s possibilities — to the mix.
“He definitely brings a good energy, a nice juice with it,” third-year left tackle Isaiah Wynn said.
“You get a person like that — big body, mobile quarterback — and you’re like, ‘This is going to be exciting when we get to practice,'” added veteran defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, who enters his fourth season with the team.
“The dynamic he brings into the locker room, and everybody embracing him, is the best part. We have a unique team. Once he came in, he fit right in. I think Hoy and Stidham did welcome him with open arms, and them coming on to the field, and hearing them talk and you can see them throwing different plays and aspects out; it’s going to be one of those things that we can’t wait to get the pads on to see the playbook come to life.”
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Friday cited Newton’s intelligence. “He’s a smart football player. He’s played a lot of football, seen a lot of stuff. Guys in our league rarely have the type of success that a player like he has had, and this fast, without understanding the game.”
The Patriots’ first full-pads practice is scheduled for Aug. 17, and how the Patriots split the repetitions among Newton, Stidham and Hoyer will be closely watched. Coach Bill Belichick hasn’t named a starter, which is his standard approach, as he often says that players determine the role they ultimately earn. Based on career résumé, Newton is the odds-on favorite.
Edelman, who is the longest-tenured Patriots offensive player (since 2009), still projects as a top pass-catching option, just as he was for Brady.
“You have Hoyer, who has played here. He’s been in the system,” Edelman said. “You have Stidham, who has a year under his belt. And you have Cam, this guy is a heck of a football player. This isn’t his first year playing football. This guy is a former MVP who has played in a lot of big games.
“I have a lot of faith in our coaching staff, along with some of the veteran players, to go out and do our best to try to prepare everyone the best we can. That’s what this season is going to be about — about addressing and overcoming certain situations everyone is having to deal with. We have a long road ahead of us, but if we just keep on bringing our hard hat and lunch pail to work, and coming in with a purpose, that’s usually when good things happen.”