“Absolutely not. Every day is a workday for me. That label is not important to me right now,” Newton told reporters. “I have so much I need to get better at, so much I need to learn, so much I need to be comfortable with. Throughout this process, that’s the last thing that I’m pretty much worried about.”
The Patriots concluded their ninth practice of training camp Wednesday, and the Newton-led two-minute offense struggled for the second day in a row. Newton said he sees the command of fellow quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham in those situations and needs to measure up.
“There are certain things when I come to the line of scrimmage and it’s just not as firing mentally as I would want it to be rather than other plays that may be called,” he said. “I see a person like Hoyster go to the line and he’s as sharp as can be. For me, asking him questions, and he answers them. Stiddy [too]. There are things I know I need to become better at. Until I get those things done, everything else is irrelevant.”
Newton, who threw an interception Wednesday, has been getting a crash course over the last week. Coaches divided the reps evenly among the three quarterbacks through the first four days of camp, but Newton has been in a leading role since.
Quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch praised Newton’s work ethic in learning the offensive system in a month’s time, but Newton said he still has ground to make up.
“It’s a work in progress each and every day for me,” he said when asked to rate his comfort level. “Every day is another day to learn more. That’s an ongoing process for me, so I don’t necessarily have a specific number. It’s more or less trying to manage this offense in a way that I can become comfortable. Every day is a new challenge.”
That hasn’t stopped Newton from emerging as a leader, with coach Bill Belichick citing his energetic approach as an uplifting presence.
“I think that’s Cam’s personality,” Belichick said. “You see that in the morning going into the squad meeting or the practice field or the dining room or whatever it happens to be.”
Newton said that type of approach is important to him, helping set a standard.
“Even though we may have a lackluster day offensively, it’s just my job as one of the default leaders at my position to make sure everybody knows we have to become better. We have to hold each other accountable,” he said.
That starts with himself.
“I hold myself accountable more than anything else. I go by a code and stick to the code — if you say something to somebody, you better make sure you’re holding yourself in check as well. That’s what I’m trying to do,” he said.