Ron Rivera believes Cam Newton is ‘ready to bust out’ with Patriots
There is no coach in the NFL who knows Cam Newton better than Ron Rivera, and Rivera thinks his former quarterback is poised to do some great things with the New England Patriots.
Rivera discussed Newton signing with the Patriots in an appearance on the “McNeil & Parkins Show” on 670 The Score Monday. The Washington Redskins coach said Newton looks healthy and that it would be unwise to bet against the former NFL MVP.
“He’s headed in the right direction,” Rivera said. “I mean, he’s probably about as healthy as it gets from what I’ve seen on video. I think he’s ready to bust out. I would never bet against the young man, that’s for sure.”
Rivera was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers when the team drafted Newton first overall in 2011. Newton has never started an NFL game under another head coach, so it goes without saying that the two are quite familiar with one another. Newton had an emotional reaction on social media after the Panthers fired Rivera late last season.
While there are plenty of concerns surrounding Newton’s shoulder and surgically-repaired foot, Rivera stressed that the 31-year-old is no stranger to handling pressure.
“Don’t bet against him. I really wouldn’t,” Rivera said. “First of all, you got to know who he is and understand what all he’s gone through. He’s a guy that’s always tried to do things, I think, because he’s felt the pressure. He felt the pressure of being the No. 1 overall pick. He felt the pressure of having won the Heisman Trophy and being the No. 1 overall pick. He felt the pressure of being a black quarterback, with all the stuff that’s been heaped on him.”
All of the reports we’ve heard about Newton’s health have been positive, though the Lisfranc injury he suffered last season will always carry a risk of being re-aggravated. But at a league minimum salary with incentives, he is well worth the risk for the Patriots. He also has a clear path to a starting job and a tremendous opportunity to revive his career.
Rivera isn’t the only former coach of Newton’s that has high hopes for the quarterback in New England.