Cam Newton Flunks Camp Gruden (w/ VIDEO)

camnewton041911.jpg
Cam Newtown: We got a 36 play, a 37 play, all kinds of plays.
While ESPN has become a bit of a safe haven for literally dozens of retired players and terminated coaches who have no business on television, occasionally they come up with a gem. If you cast the net wide enough, you have to, right?

I think Jeff Van Gundy is excellent on the NBA on ESPN (and the television watcher in me hopes he's not a front-runner for the Rockets' now-vacant head coaching job), and I think similarly Jon Gruden has been a great addition covering the NFL.

As good as Gruden is on Monday Night Football (and he is excellent), ESPN's use of Gruden come draft time in his Camp Gruden segments makes for outstanding television to even the most casual NFL Draft fan. I'd even go as far as to say you don't even have to care about the draft to find Gruden's film sessions with future quarterback draft choices riveting stuff.

Among the campers in Camp Gruden last year was Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, who Gruden showed some tough love to by calling some of Clausen's film "embarrassing to Notre Dame"...

Florida's Tim Tebow also spent some time under the Gruden microscope, and I have to say you can see why teams fall in love with Tebow when they meet him....

This year's series includes Arkansas's Ryan Mallett, TCU's Andy Dalton, Washington's Jake Locker and (yes) Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. Gruden sits down with each of them to go through the usual drill of picking apart their games and giving pointers on what they'll all need to work on to be successful at the next level.

Of course, it takes two to tango. There reaches a certain point with a student where their capacity to absorb (both experiential and mental) is so low that you may as well be giving advice to the wall.

If there is an imaginary line for such a capacity in the NFL evaluation process, Cam Newton (based on the few minutes of Camp Gruden footage) clearly falls below that line.

Watch the Gruden sessions with Mallett, Dalton and Locker...

All of them show up in film room / "gym rat" gear (T-shirts, shorts). They're all interactive, they're all real, and all three take cracks at diagramming plays they ran in college on the white board, which should be the equivalent of filling out your name and address on a job application.

Now, observe Cam Newton...

(Note: ESPN's embedding has been screwy, so if you can't see it go to this link.)

In fact, let's mini-diary this thing chronologically....

0:00 -- Cam Newton is in a tie, sweater vest and a white dress shirt, which is the outfit straight out of Chapter 1 of Dress for Success, assuming you're trying to land a job as an investment banker or a patent lawyer. For purposes of getting a job as a quarterback, it's Exhibit A that perhaps Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki was correct in his scouting report where he had the following to say about Newton:

Very disingenuous -- has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law -- does not command respect from teammates and will always struggle to win a locker room . . . Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness -- is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable.

If it's possible to hurt yourself and validate a scouting report that calls you a "phony" by dressing up nicely, Newton managed to do it.

0:05 -- Gruden: "Flip right, double X, Jet 36, Counter, naked waggle, 7-x quarter." Seriously, I think if Gruden had recited one more play sequence, Newton would have started banging himself on the head like Raymond Babbitt when Charlie tried to get him to fly to Los Angeles in Rain Man.

0:10 -- Gruden asks Newton for something "a little verbal" from Auburn's playbook. Basically, he's asking him for a play -- ANY PLAY -- in Auburn's entire playbook. Newton's response: "Wow, you're really putting me on the spot."

Huh?

Um no, Cam. Having Dwight Freeney breathing down your neck in a hostile road environment two seconds after the ball is snapped, that's "on the spot." An ESPN analyst asking you to name a play that you can both playfully discuss in a film session, that's called a casual inquiry. The question wasn't meant to be difficult, Cam. If that film session were Jeopardy, Gruden's question was the equivalent of asking you to choose a category. You're screwed, big man.

0:30 -- At this point, Gruden realizes that he's got someone with severe village idiot potential on his hands and he bails him out -- "You don't get in the huddle much [at Auburn], do you?" To which Newton replies, "We really don't." Then he goes into an explanation of his college offense that is absolutely priceless:

"Our method is simplistic equals fast. It's so simple as far as you just look to the sideline and you see 36 on the board, and that's a play!"

Transcribing it in writing doesn't begin to do justice to Newton's voice inflection as he tries to make "36" sound like some magical recipe for untold riches. Seriously, I half-expected Newton to begin telling me how play "36" would generate income for my downline and set me up for financial security within three years.

0:44 -- Gruden actually has to tell Newton that one of his biggest challenges will be in calling plays and learning a playbook, which is like telling someone who just bought a car that one of their biggest challenges will be putting the key in the ignition and turning it to start the car. Underrated comedy is Newton taking fake notes on his notepad. Seriously, what could he possibly have been writing? "To do: Learn how to call plays."

1:11 -- This is where it starts to get special. Gruden asks Newton how he handles all of the criticism and Newton, instead of just saying that he feeds off of it and takes it personally, he goes into some contrived analogy where he's a gun and the criticism is the ammunition (which makes no sense, by the way). He supposedly puts all the criticism in his "mental chamber," a receptacle that is probably very roomy and where the criticism eventually dies from loneliness.

2:35 -- Realizing that Cam Newton is to chalk talks what the Kardashians are to molecular physics, Gruden is like "Fuck it, may as well go throw the ball with this specimen." (Gruden says it more politely than I do.)

So what does this all mean for Newton's stock? Probably nothing; some team will be dumb enough to fall in love with the rocket arm and the big frame. But the fact of the matter is Ryan Mallett, who has been dogged by allegations of drug use and sounds like he could be the next gator hunter introduced on Swamp People, came across ten times more impressive than Newton in his Gruden session for the simple fact that he didn't seem scripted and he came across as a student of the game while breaking down a play on the chalkboard.

Hell, the fact that he made it to the chalkboard at all puts him ahead of Newton. This flameout is going to be fun to watch.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.


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50 comments
chadingtonbear
chadingtonbear

Looks like someone was COMPLETELY wrong.  Games played on the field!

reecedawg
reecedawg

Wow, you sure did nailed this one on the head didn't you?  Such a dumbass idiot no way he can throw for 200 yards in a game hahaha let alone throwing for 400 in two straight games to start the season & no WAY he'll be flirting with 2500 yards passing, let alone 4000 hahaha am I right sean?!  I said, ISN'T THAT RIGHT SEAN?!?! 

KSam
KSam

seriously, though... what kind of dumb, incompetent asshole dresses up nicely for a nationally televised job interview??? What a moron. He should have been destined for failure after that mistake. Especially because of how relevant it is to his ability to throw a football.

Catsfan
Catsfan

Wow, don't all of you look like dumb fucks now, hahahahahahaha

aehorton
aehorton

"Oops." - Sean Pendergast

wizworld
wizworld

Terrible article.  Many of the comments are shameful as well.  Makes you question WHY some people go to such lengths to pick him apart. 

Basa
Basa

LET'S TALK ABOUT IT!!!

Okp
Okp

^^^^^uppppppp

Atif Aziz
Atif Aziz

Damn, you look like a jackass. "Football expert" card officially revoked

Ken
Ken

Great blog as usual Sean!!!

Kevin
Kevin

As a Falcons fan, I hope the Panthers take him.

Lrc1177
Lrc1177

They made it simple for Cam because he had no clue. He has had months to get himself NFL ready but has not learned anything except I am a big physically fit guy. I have yet to see a team that spends as much money as them teams spend do enough research on these guys look at some of the past picks that did not pan out but was given huge salaries before ever stepping on the field and then once on the field offered nothing but headaches for the fans of that team.. Come on GMs and owners stop listening to Mel Kiper and spend a buck before you waste millions on a player worth pennies. Now I will step down from my soap box.

Bgoines1
Bgoines1

eye contact from newton to gruden was horrible. hesfake and selfish and will have a career much like jamarcus russell.

Curtis Alan Hatridge
Curtis Alan Hatridge

$cam will be another epic fail. It takes more than just raw talent to make it in the NFL, you actually have to use your brain too.

alohawg2
alohawg2

Come on deadskins, draft Cam so the Cowboys can bust that bust up.....lol

Patrick
Patrick

I guess I interpreted the video a little differently:

Newton doesn’t come across as dumb, he seems plenty smart enough. He’s a young kid trying to express himself who sometimes struggles to find the right words. He strikes me as a kid who wants people to like him and wants to do the right thing. That doesn’t mean he’s fake or disingenuous. And who cares if he dresses nice? Tom Brady is typically well dressed.

Finally, what’s with the, “This flameout is going to be fun to watch”? Do you have some sort of personal beef with Newton?

Pigsken
Pigsken

I'll bet Cam's agent saw this and thought " I think we just shot ourselves in the foot."

dont_float
dont_float

This article is DEAD ON in all respect. Great job Pendergast! Gruden was good but he let Cam off the hook too easily. What is BS is that Gruden is now saying that Newton is the best player in the draft; after that interview he should know better unless he is out of his mind.

ahem!
ahem!

Cam Newton is a man. Cam Newton is an athlete. Cam Newton is a lover. But the most he is, I mean the thing that Cam Newton is most, is a goddamn champion...

Mr. Blonde
Mr. Blonde

His failure to maintain eye contact with Gruden tells me all I need to know... Cam Newton will fail both on and off the field.

MJ
MJ

Hilarious.

whitemercury11
whitemercury11

100% agree w/ this article! I almost peed my pants when he used "Gun" analogy. You shoul've heard his "eat or be eaten" analogy too Ahahaha. Newton is a CHUMP! Like ive been telling people he exudes arrogance and I'm dumb founded when he couldn't come up w/ a play. HE WILL NOT FIT IN WELL OR NOT FIT IN AT ALL AS A QB! what a dumb ass

Jose Silva
Jose Silva

When Gruden started to call out them plays Cams look on his face was as if Gruden was spittin out " No disrespect to Orientals" But something we like to call JAP plays. Cam, Gruden wasnt speaking no motherfuckin chinese,japanese, ping pong whatever etc. Hell i would have been smart enough to pull something out of my ass even if i didnt know a play. So take this ammunition or bullet etc. and put it in your gun and shoot yourself #PLaxicoBuress.

Arv
Arv

Remind anyone of JaMarcus?

Geezy
Geezy

Last year, the victim was CJ Spiller. That interview is classic. This year that victim was Cam...

The OSD
The OSD

Instead of the Gun/Ammunition example, Cam could have explained like this. "It's like I am a high priced laptop computer and the criticism is...wait, bad example."

Ozzmond
Ozzmond

Gruden, you fucking Raider trader! lol We need you back!

Ozzmond
Ozzmond

Can't wait to see this dude fail! At least my Raiders don't have a first round pick to waste on him. I know Al would love to.

butthurt
butthurt

Jimmy Clausen was impressive too, but he's still a bad QB. Fact of the matter is, no one gives a damn about your personality when you are on the field. They just want you to make plays and win games.

cb
cb

hater

WhiskeyR
WhiskeyR

Cam Newton is looking a little pale in that video...

Jbouche
Jbouche

haha I bet you'll be taking that one back come this Sunday

CrooksbytheBooks
CrooksbytheBooks

Let me guess, you thought the really hot, tall girl at the bar was perfect until your friends pointed out her Adam's apple...

MICROWELL
MICROWELL

let me guess Patrick, Auburn fan?

bggb
bggb

Guess you lost the bet - huh?

Ed
Ed

Gruden DOES know better. The only reason Gruden said Cam is the best player in the draft is because he [Gruden] doesn't want to be thought of as a racist - by the black people he has to work with or the black players that will be on his next NFL team.

For reasons still unknown to me, Cam Newton has become the Barack Obama of college football. No media figure has the stones be blunt about either guy, they ignore gloomy things about their past, and if anyone says anything negative about either, they'd be met with the same lazy accusation of, "oh, well the only reason you would say that is because you're a racist."

I wonder who these Newton defenders (Warren Moon, Jesse Jackson) would draft if it were their teams and they had to put up their own millions to pay this guy's salary. These race baters know good and well that the criticisms have nothing to do with skin pigmentation (read: Eric Crouch).

7777
7777

not in the NFL lol

reecedawg
reecedawg

Wow, you sure called this one eh?

Basa20003
Basa20003

WRONG!!! everybody can't be Ryan Leaf. IZ YA MAD?!?!?! MAKE IT HOTT-AAA!!!

Basa20003
Basa20003

mad and wrong, but mostly mad. 

Guest
Guest

Vince Young v2.0

ahem!
ahem!

"It's like I am high." /fixed

Patrick
Patrick

UH fan. Don't care about Auburn.

Basa20003
Basa20003

Sir, I'd just like to point out that you've been proven wrong by Cam Newton's superior Ancient Asiatic skills. IZ YA MAD!!!!????!?!

He's probably going to marry Taylor Swift, too. Just saying. 

Basa20003
Basa20003

WRONG! that's what you get for agreeing with a lazy comparison. 

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