Josh McDaniels: Cam Newton 'has a different grasp of the offense'

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McDaniels: Cam Newton 'has a different grasp of the offense' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Cam Newton was very open about the fact that when he returned to the Patriots after missing time due to COVID, he felt like he'd been plopped into a different offense. Different terminology. 

He'd been gone, but the train kept moving. 

Now with the Patriots for almost a calendar year, Newton has enough time in the system that it shouldn't matter much where he picks up the train. His ability to comprehend everything being thrown at him by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels should be vastly improved.

And according to McDaniels, who met with reporters on Thursday via video conference, it is.

"He worked his butt off last year to [pick things up], and then he came back certainly this year at a much different position," McDaniels said. "He has a different grasp of the offense, a different understanding of the terminology. And now we're working on refining the precision, the details.

"And I always talk to the quarterbacks about trying to master the operation and the things we need them to do. And there's always work to be done in that area. I don't care what quarterback you're talking about, there's always work to be done."

Patriots Talk Podcast: Josh McDaniels goes deep on Mac Jones, Cam Newton and the learning curve | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Mac Jones will have plenty of work to do himself. But at least there's some kind of blueprint for getting Jones ready. Teams prepare rookie quarterbacks to play all the time. Maybe there's a chance the Patriots feel like Jones -- though far from a finished product -- is ready enough to take the reins of the offense early in his rookie season.

But what Newton dealt with last year, in terms of the timing of his signing with the Patriots and then the COVID-related restrictions the team dealt with thereafter, was one of a kind.

"He's worked really hard and he worked hard all year last year," McDaniels said of Newton. "He was certainly in a point when he got here that was a unique situation, having really no experience and exposure to our system prior to training camp starting. 

"I honestly can't remember another time in my career where we've had a player that has done that. Even the rookies that get drafted, they get information prior to the end of the spring."

The Patriots drafted a rookie, and highly, back in April. If Newton can hold him off in order to remain New England's starter, it'll be due in part to the work he's put in to give himself a better grasp of the Patriots offense as he heads into his second year with the team.