FOXBOROUGH — Cam Newton is a dancing machine.
Though the Jackson 5 haven’t been in the mix — you’re more likely to hear Migos or Young Jeezy ripping through Gillette Stadium’s oversized speakers — it’s clear New England’s new quarterback is tuned and channeled to his team’s vibes.
Newton brings the energy and dance moves to practice every day. Whether leading the offense on a two-minute drill or leading the dance party during stretching, he is a lightning rod.
“It’s extremely important [to be the energy guy], especially for me as a person,” Newton said Wednesday. “Anybody who knows me knows that it’s all about the vibe that you have to set and you curate, and in essence, we want to change that word ‘vibe’ [so] it more or less becomes the standard.
“Walking into this locker room, it’s been such a good energy here that I just want to make sure that I do my part. And even though we may have a lackluster day offensively, it’s just my job as one of the default leaders in my position to make sure that everybody knows we have to become better.”
That’s exactly what Newton has been doing through nine training camp practices over the last two weeks. He started the summer in a three-way competition to succeed Tom Brady but in recent days has distanced himself to the point where it looks like he’ll get the nod for the Sept. 13 opener against the Dolphins.
Newton, however, isn’t ready to call the race.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “Every day is a workday for me, and that [starting] label is not important to me right now because I know I have so much that I need to get better at, so much that I need to learn, so much that I need to be comfortable with. And throughout this process, that’s the last thing that I’m pretty much worried about.”
While Newton’s physical skills are on display at every workout, he pointed out that he’s not completely up to speed with every aspect of the offense and that he’s still learning from fellow QBs Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham, and even rookie Brian Lewerke.
“Knowing that 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 just as sharp as it can be.
“From me asking him questions and he answered them and Stiddy and things like that, there’s things that I know I need to be become better at. And until I get those things done, everything else is irrelevant.”
The former MVP, who signed a one-year deal in July, also has been doing deep dives with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and quarterback coach Jedd Fisch as he continues to immerse himself in the offense. The quarterbacks are often seen huddled with the coaches during side sessions at practice. Coaching points such as footwork, release points, and check-downs are constantly being discussed.
“It’s been therapeutic for me,” Newton said. “Just knowing that these guys have been as patient throughout this process [as] I would have wanted them to be.
“Obviously, learning a 20-year installment of plays, all in a short time span, has been challenging. But yet, I think it would have been more challenging if you didn’t have the tutelage of a Jedd, the tutelage of a Coach Josh and Jedd, and even the other quarterbacks.”
Newton added that it’s been “extremely valuable” to throw side sessions to receivers Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, and N’Keal Harry as he continues to build chemistry and trust with three guys who likely will play pivotal roles in his development in New England.
Additionally, Newton said, he’s getting comfortable with and is impressed by the receiving skills of running backs Rex Burkhead and James White — though the Auburn grad couldn’t resist a subtle jab at the resident Alabama back.
“Burkie and J-White, man, those guys have been extremely good,” he said. “Outside of me and Damien [Harris] not having the best college eyesight to eyesight, he’s been good, too.”
Newton also touched on the current state of affairs in America after being asked his reaction to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
“What’s going on in this country of ours at times is extremely disgusting,” he said. “And until we find a fix, I think more than ever, we have to unify and become one as much as possible.
“From the Black Lives Matter campaign, from the social injustice, bringing awareness with that, and just everybody becoming more aware of certain things and not necessarily turning their ear or turning their face [away from] things that are extremely blatant.
“We have to use our platform to raise awareness for issues like this. And while we’re going through so much, from COVID-19, this is an election year with voting and making everybody aware to vote, and having issues that still are pertinent in our society and in our community and still not seeing things done. You just have to stay focused and impact the things you can impact the most.”