BOSTON (CBS) — Nothing was ever going to be handed to Cam Newton in Foxboro, in the sense that the inking of a contract did not automatically include a cushy seat as the team’s starting quarterback. At the same time, all Cam Newton had to do to earn that job over his competition was prove that he can still be Cam Newton.
With less than three weeks left until the regular season begins, it appears as though Cam Newton is still Cam Newton.
While a hip injury has not at all helped Jarrett Stidham in seizing his opportunity to become Tom Brady’s successor in Foxboro, all reports have indicated that Newton has built up a sizable gap over Stidham and Brian Hoyer.
The Athletic’s Jeff Howe wrote on Friday: “Cam Newton won the first week of the Patriots’ quarterback competition. Later in the weekend, Howe wrote, “[Newton] continued to solidify his place in the race for the top job Sunday.” Howe surmised that “the Patriots are working on overdrive to get him up to speed for the season.”
ESPN’s Mike Reiss noted that Stidham is “fading” in the quarterback picture.
Patriots practice concludes. Cam Newton/Brian Hoyer get the bulk of the work, as it feels like Jarrett Stidham’s status in the QB picture is fading the last two practices.
Newton-Julian Edelman connection was notable to me today. Comfort level between them growing.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 23, 2020
NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry noted that Newton is “running away” with the job.
The Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan likewise said that Newton is creating separation, writing, “Newton ran the offense with greater command, completed 65 percent of his passes in competitive settings and continued to unlock more possibilities as a runner. The starting quarterback job is his to lose.”
Callahan added: “Any day you can pull away with a starting job is a good day. Newton is clearly further along mentally than he was at the start of training camp and whipped a few pinpoint passes downfield. His grasp of the Patriots offense is growing.”
The Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels said it’s Newton’s job to lose.
7v7s: Newton 8/12; Hoyer 3/6
11v11s: Newton 20/27; Hoyer 10/12, INT
Total: Newton 28/39; Hoyer 13/18, INT
This was Cam Newton’s best day as a Patriot. IMO it’s his job to lose.
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 23, 2020
NFL Network’s Mike Giardi said the same.
“Really quite terrific for Cam Newton in the sense that it looks like it’s slowing down for him right now, and that he’s feeling more and more comfortable with the offense,” Giardi said. “With Sitdham now limited, it appears that it’s Cam’s job to lose.”
Of course, all of this reporting is being made while Stidham is missing valuable practice time due to his hip injury, which has limited him to only partake in individual drills and has forced him to watch from the sideline during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods.
Still, that absence didn’t disqualify Stidham from the competition; it merely opened an opportunity for Newton. By all accounts, Newton has capitalized, and it’s looking more and more that when the Patriots take the field inside an empty Gillette Stadium next month, it will be No. 1 breaking the huddle for that first offensive play.