Analyzing Cam Newton’s best and final practice of Patriots minicamp

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Does anyone have more fun at practice than Cam Newton?

The more you watch the New England Patriots quarterback, the more you can see the joy he gets out of the sport. It doesn’t matter if he’s making a big play or his teammates do something special. Newton will cheer, dap-up and flash a big smile if the Patriots offense is doing good things.

And on Wednesday, the offense did a lot of good things. Newton had his best practice of minicamp — and of all the spring practices that were open to the media. Newton didn’t exactly wow with a handful of big throws, but he was methodical in moving the ball. He was quick to make decisions, and he was very aware in managing the offense through situational drills (which worked on 2-minute clock management and transitions from offense to the field goal unit). It was a very solid practice, one where Newton was the best quarterback on the field — and one where rookie Mac Jones struggled.

Warmups and individual drills

  • Newton literally skipped onto the field after walking up the steps from the locker room for practice. He got the first round of the walkthrough, with Mac Jones watching. When Jones took over, Newton kept his arm warm with a ballboy, working behind offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who watched the walkthrough closely. Jones likes to chat up McDaniels, surely because he has so much more to learn. Newton floats around.

  • Receiver Kendrick Bourne and Newton love each other. They kicked off dynamic stretching by dancing together. Newton freelances during stretching, dancing and doing the exercises that work for him. He also warmed up with the receivers, rather than warming up with the other quarterbacks.

  • Newton and the rest of the quarterbacks warmed up their receivers' hands with throws. After position drills, Newton went back to warm up some hands with some high fives. He loves dapping people up before getting to work on quarterback-receiver drills. He worked with his receivers and looked comfortable zipping the ball to the corner of the end zone.

  • Then Newton helped the tight ends work on the fundamentals of an out-route and a stop-route.

  • Newton can do freaky stuff, and it's as simple as being able to zip the ball to his receivers. But also, he can do things such as dribble a football like a basketball between his legs.

  • By the time the Patriots were doing an 11-on-11 walkthrough against a scout-team defense (comprised of offensive players), McDaniels was clearly pushing the pace for the offense, with Newton leading off the reps.

  • Newton led off the first round of walkthrough reps against an actual scout-team defense

  • While Jones and Stidham took reps during the same drill, Newton watched closely, standing 10 yards behind, likely getting mental reps.

  • Between an 11-on-11 and punt work, Newton and the rest of the quarterbacks fed the ball to skill players for a drill working on open-field work for offense and defense. When the team began punting sessions, the quarterbacks huddled with McDaniels and offensive quality control coach Bo Hardegree to chat.

  • In the course of any given practice, Newton is throwing the ball more than any quarterback. He loves keeping his arm warm to keep himself busy between drills.

Competitive team drills (11-on-11, 7-on-7 and 2-minute)

  • Newton was animated during his fellow quarterback's reps. He cheered and swore loudly for Jones, who picked up a third-down conversion. Newton then jumped on Stidham, who completed the nicest throw of practice, a 40-yard flag route to Devin Ross which found a soft spot in the defensive zone.

  • During 11-on-11s and 7-on-7s, Newton favored checkdowns and quick passes on Wednesday, which got the offense into a rhythm.

  • Newton completed passes to nine different pass-catchers: running backs James White and J.J. Taylor, receivers Isaiah Zuber, Tre Nixon, N'Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne and tight ends Dalton Keene and Tony Fumagalli.

  • Newton finished 17-for-21 during competitive drills and went 14-for-17 in 11-on-11s.

  • His best throw of practice was a pinpoint pass to running back James White for 20-yards. White was split out wide and caught the ball back-shoulder over linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Newton's pass was the perfect blend of accuracy and touch.

  • All three of his deep passes fell incomplete. On his first, Newton fired a ball -- high and arcing -- to Gunner Olszewski. It was a bold decision, with the diminutive receiver sandwiched by Jonathan Jones and J.C. Jackson. As you'd expect, the ball fell incomplete. A few periods later, Newton tried a deep ball to running back J.J. Taylor, who couldn't quite haul in the ball off his fingertips. Finally, Newton fired a ball out of bounds to N'Keal Harry deep down the left sideline. It was an uncatchable pass, because it was the 2-minute drill, it might have been a throwaway to clock the ball.

  • At one point, Newton and Sony Michel ran into each other during play action. Even so, Newton managed to zip the ball over the middle to Meyers for a first down.

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