BOSTON (CBS) — In the days after Cam Newton was released by the Patriots, Rob Ninkovich dropped a borderline bombshell about the state of the quarterbacks room in New England.
On a podcast, Ninkovich stated that rookie Mac Jones was essentially teaching the playbook to Newton.
On Friday, Newton released a video in which he opened up on a number of topics surrounding his departure from the Patriots. While that discussion — which took place between Cam and his father, Cecil — covered a lot of topics, the claim by Ninkovich was one of them.
Newton denied that the rookie was teaching him anything this summer. He said that all of the quarterbacks worked together to help better understand certain situations.
Cecil Newton: Was Mac teaching you the playbook?
Cam Newton: Man … no. No. How can he teach me?
Cecil Newton: Please announce what some of these buffoons — please announce, today, on Funky Friday, what some of these NFL so-called pudnits are saying. Here’s what I have to say, before you say that: I’m glad that they’re not my personal doctor, because they are terribly misdiagnosing my case.
Cam Newton: But I would just say this. Take it for what it’s worth. I am who I am. I didn’t play good last year. I was inaccurate. I didn’t know the playbook.
Cecil Newton: They had to dumb it down for you.
Cam Newton: They had to dumb it down. Cam and Josh wasn’t meshing. Bill didn’t like Cam. Whatever — whatever a pundit may say. But what can Mac teach me? That’s what I’m trying to — come on, now.
Cecil Newton: And that’s a stigma out there about the Black quarterback being less cerebral than the white quarterback. We’ll chop that up later.
Cam Newton: That’s a whole ‘nother different conversation. I like McClennan.
Cecil Newton: But you mean to tell me — you mean to tell me — Mac Jones was not teaching you the playbook and Josh McDaniels was not dumbing down the playbook for you, Cam?
Cam Newton: No, if anything, I was like, ‘Josh, bro, it’s so new to me.’ Like I’ve never been in a system that required me to know where the Mike [linebacker] is, to know the front, to identify certain fronts, and X, Y, Z. You can’t say that that’s stupid, or ‘Why wouldn’t you know that?’ Because half of the NFL, I would say 30 teams out of 32 teams don’t run this philosophy. It’s in the center’s call, because they control the protection. And if you have any type of red flag or an alert, then that’s where you kind of overthrow and say, ‘Whoa whoa whoa. Hey, Lucy this. Hey Ricky to 50.’ You know what I’m saying? Something like that. But as far as that, man, no. Mac, man, Mac was cool man. He was a person who was young. He was a person who was still trying to find his way.
Cecil Newton: And will continue to try to find his way.
Cam Newton: And that’s why I was just saying, what can he teach me when it’s coming at him faster than it was coming at me? You know what I mean? I would always ask Mac, and we was helping each other. Where it was like, ‘You straight, bro?’ And I would go to [Brian Hoyer] and be like, ‘Bro, you seeing something that I ain’t seeing? Or what was the Mike, or X, Y, Z?’ And then me and Josh had a great dialogue after practice or during practice that, you know, he would tell me. But I felt heads and toes above where I was understanding it —
Cecil Newton: 12 months ago.
Cam Newton: Oh man. Without a doubt.
Technically, Jones sharing insight with Newton in such a scenario could qualify as teaching, but it certainly doesn’t align with the way it was characterized by Ninkovich.
“I got some inside sources now, and I won’t say names. Inside sources in the actual building,” Ninkovich said last week. “From everything that I understand now, Mac was basically helping Cam learn the playbook. So imagine that. Learn that. Learn that. Learn that right now. Absorb it. Learn it.”
Later on Friday, Bill Belichick was asked during his press conference about which player on the offense has the responsibility of identifying the Mike linebacker on a given play.
“Well, ultimately you want everybody to be on the same page, so however it gets done — it could be a combination of both [the quarterback and the center],” Belichick said. “However it gets done, as long as everybody sees it the same way then I don’t think it really matters. The problem is when all the players don’t see it the same way, or there’s confusion as to where the count starts. That’s never a good thing, especially if it’s running play, then one guy is unblocked, and if it’s a passing play then potentially one guy is unblocked, which is a problem if they blitz. So, the most important thing is for everybody to know what it is and execute their assignment, because it can be multiple people on the same play depending on how the defense presents itself. But if there’s some kind of miscommunication or misunderstanding about who’s who, then that generally leads to bad outcomes.”