FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cam Newton said he is still getting to know rookie Mac Jones as they compete for the New England Patriots starting quarterback job, but in sharing his first impression, he cited a phrase made famous by late ESPN SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott.
"Cool, like the other side of the pillow," Newton said Friday. "You never know when he's really down on himself. You don't really necessarily know when he's up, either. He's real cool."
Newton, 32, said that Jones has even surprised him with his knowledge of hip-hop.
All of which had Jones, 22, laughing after practice.
"That's a nice compliment. I'd say the same about Cam," said Jones, the Patriots' first-round draft pick from the University of Alabama (15th overall). "Obviously, with any relationship and meeting someone new, you have to form the bond and trust. He's helped me and made it a lot of fun. Your first couple practices as a rookie are going to be hard, so he just tries to stay positive with me. That's just who Cam is."
A notable example of that came in Thursday's practice after Jones had finished a series that didn't produce the desired results. Newton approached him on the sideline and the two talked it over.
"Hopefully, I can learn from him and try to be like him in some ways and have fun with it," Jones said. "We're going to grow together, and we're going to help each other win games, hopefully."
At the same time, they're also in a competition for the top spot on the depth chart, with coach Bill Belichick previously saying that Newton is No. 1 while leaving open the possibility that Jones could make a charge for the job in time.
That's how Newton has approached things this year, and even before that.
"Ever since I've been here, there's been a quarterback competition," he said. "I think in essence, that's the underlying Patriot Way. Every position has a competition there, and the quarterback position is no different."
Newton said one thing that has helped him this year is that he didn't have any surgeries in the offseason, which allowed him to spend more time with his family and also on his physical and mental well-being. The result, he said, is that "you feel a little different. More confident."
Along those lines, Newton said he plans to be judicious when he takes off and runs, in hopes of protecting his 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame.
"I'm getting older. You know, you just have to move a little differently," he said. "It's not about proving certain things. We all know what I can do running the football. And if it needs to come to those things, I'm willing to risk it all.
"But yet, if it doesn't require that, then of course you have to be a little more mental. Because a nick and a bruise where I'm at, it sticks a little longer than just a day and then going about your business."
Jones has taken off to run a couple of times in practice, but he's more of a traditional pocket passer. The ball is often out of his hands quickly.
As for what he has learned about Newton, he kept his response lighthearted.
"I like his outfits, for sure," he said. "I can't pull off his swag."