SAN DIEGO -- Enjoying the San Diego sunshine and saying that hes shooting for greatness, Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton gave the media a glimpse of the workouts hes going through daily as he prepares for the NFL combine and draft.
Wearing gray shorts, a black long-sleeve T-shirt and orange cleats, Newton did agility drills and then threw passes to a handful of receivers for nearly 45 minutes at a suburban high school on Thursday.
Newton has been in San Diego since late January, working six days a week with quarterbacks coach George Whitfield Jr. and receiving advice from Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon.
While his passes looked crisp, theres a lot for Newton to work on. Chief among them is taking snaps from under center. He often took snaps in the shotgun formation as he ran the spread offense at Auburn, which he led to the BCS national title.
He said hes working on the whole grand scheme of playing quarterback in the NFL. A lot of times, I probably can count on one hand the times I took a snap from under center in one game. But now it depends what scheme you go into, but, at the same time, you have to be able to get a snap from under center and be fluent at it. Thats one of the first things we tried to tackle.
Asked whether he is surprised some people dont think his skills will translate to the NFL, he replied: Thats the competitor that I am. I wont be surprised -- Im making that leap right now -- until Im a Super Bowl champion. Thats what Im going for from Day One, reaching for greatness. The supporting cast that I have is pushing me to be great, Im pushing myself to be great and I demand greatness for myself. So coming in the door, working out every single day, Im shooting for greatness.
Whitfield said the session was a snapshot of his training. Hes been working really hard at this. He is an excitable kid. Hes been pumped for this.
Whitfield worked with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during his four-game suspension.
While Whitfield is Newtons coach, Moon described his role as a mentor.
But if I see something that I can help him improve on, Im going to do that, Moon said.
During the session, Moon picked up on something and told Newton.
He wasnt transferring well, Moon said afterward. He was throwing leaning backward. Even though he has a very strong arm, I dont care how strong of an arm you have, if youre not in the right throwing motion, youre not going to get good accuracy on the football, the ball is going to go high on you. As soon as he gets that weight transferred, he throws the ball as accurately as anyone youve been around.
Moon isnt at every session, but Whitfield films every workout and sends it to him.
I just see him improving, Moon said. Every day he does something a little bit better than he did the day before, whether its taking the snap from center or whether its transferring his weight from dropping back to throwing the football. Thats where hes making his biggest adjustment, to me, is being able to drop back, because thats something hes never had to do, and then transfer that weight forward to get velocity behind your throws and also to get accuracy.
Newton usually does throwing with Whitfield in the morning and then does classroom work and speed work in the afternoon.
Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback whos now a TV analyst, gushed about Newtons workout.
I couldnt be more impressed. For one, I think this whole thing is genius, Dilfer said of the workout in front of the media. People are knocking it. I think its brilliant.
He is a special talent, Dilfer said. Hes uniquely gifted. To be this much of a puppy, I mean, he hasnt played a lot of true quarterback in his life; to be this refined mechanically, you dont see this very often. This is the top of the top of the top. Thats what youre looking at.
A month removed from Auburns BCS title game victory over Oregon, Newton said hes approaching things as a professional athlete.
This whole transformation from the college level to the NFL is a big leap, he said. But at the same time, you have to be mature enough to be able to work on your talent when nobody is looking. This is your profession, this is your job. And I have to come at it every single day trying to get better at what I do.
Newton couldnt stop raving about the weather.
I think Im going to have a surfing party at the house, joked Newton, whos staying in Encinitas in northern San Diego County. Everyones welcome to come.