Ron Rivera knows Cam Newton as well as any coach, having worked with the quarterback since he entered the NFL in 2011.
The former Panthers coach, and current man in charge in Washington, believes the videos he's viewed of Newton's rehab workouts suggest the quarterback is back to being the player he was before injuries wiped out most of the past two seasons. Rivera believes Newton can recreate himself in New England.
"He's headed in the right direction," Rivera said on the McNeil & Parkins Show on 670 The Score on Monday. "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's Redskins declined to sign Newton to compete with second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins, instead trading for Newton's former backup Kyle Allen.
Despite the disinterest in reuniting with Newton, Rivera believes the QB who led his former team for nine seasons can finally bounce back from multiple shoulder surgeries and a foot injury that relegated him to just two games in 2019.
"Don't bet against him," Rivera said. "I really wouldn't. 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.
"He's really had to find his way through it, and he's done a great job with it."
Now, for the first time in his NFL career, Newton will have to find his way through a season with a new coach, new team and new city.