BOSTON (CBS) — In what is seemingly an open competition at starting quarterback, Cam Newton got off to a rough start on Wednesday. But on Thursday, Cam was back.

The veteran quarterback has been around long enough to shake off an iffy practice session, and he showed that with a strong performance on Thursday — particularly at the end of the session.

Newton’s work late in the morning practice had Twitter lighting up with analysis from reporters on site:

Still, while Mac Jones might not have been the brightest QB on Thursday, there was plenty to like about his practice as well.

Of course — OF COURSE! — this is not real football. It’s not even real practice. The pads aren’t on, and there’s no hitting. Reps are competitive but they still don’t really simulate the real thing.

But for now, it’s enough football to stoke the excitement in New England. Here’s what happened outside of the QB battle.

RUN A LAP!

Gunner Olszewski, J.C. Jackson, Mike Onwenu, Deatrich Wise and Davon Godchaux all were made to run a lap for various reasons.

DEFENSE PLAYS TOO

While we focus on incompletions and quarterback play, it’s worth remembering … there’s a defense out there, too.

TRICK PLAY

Reporters aren’t allowed to detail the specifics of any trick plays, so as not to publicize any of them for opponents. But Cam Newton drew a cheer for one such play.

Newton caught two passes last year, his first receptions since 2012. One of those went for the first receiving touchdown of his career. So while the Patriots didn’t rely on such plays, they weren’t afraid to utilize all of Newton’s physical skills in certain spots.

TEDY BRUSCHI IN THE HOUSE

Patriots legend Tedy Bruschi was present as a guest.

NO PADS TILL TUESDAY

It’s not quite as catchy as the Beastie Boys classic, but the Patriots won’t be donning pads until Tuesday.

In the meanwhile, the Patriots will once again practice on Friday and Saturday morning.

CBSBoston.com Staff