I caught the Ryan Mallet and Cam Newton episodes of Jon Gruden’s QB Camp yesterday and a couple things stood out.
Here are my thoughts.
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First up is Mallet. If someone was coaching the kid on how to respond to Gruden, they get an A-plus. Mallet filled up the episode with the sort of southern manners and “Yes sirs” you’d expect from someone at charm school. In addition, he showed a lot of knowledge on formations and quarterback reads. It doesn’t seem like the mental part of the QB game will be too big for him.
Newton, however, will have some work to do in that department. Gruden asked him to give an example of a complicated play call at Auburn and Newton didn’t have an answer. He said Auburn’s offense was uber-simplified – which might be true – but he should have at least been able to rattle off something.
On a positive note, Newton does have an air of confidence that is contagious. It seemed to be oozing through the television screen. I think he could captivate a huddle and a fan base at the same time. I’d still be a little worried about his off-the-field aspirations (he reportedly said he wanted to be an entertainer and an icon too), but I think talent-wise he’ll have enough ability and confidence in it, to be successful in the NFL. But given the Bengals troubles with so-called character risks, I’d prefer they stay away from him.
If you haven’t seen it yet, the show is definitely worth a look. It’s also good evidence of how important it is to thoroughly research each player.
Anyone can come off well in a 30-minute TV segment.