FOXBORO (CBS) — When the Patriots hit the fields behind Gillette Stadium every morning, it’s technically just practice. But with the most important position on the field seemingly up for grabs, it does feel like a little bit more.

Once Bill Belichick all but confirmed that the Patriots are holding an open competition for the starting QB spot, an added layer of attention and scrutiny has been placed on the reps of Cam Newton and Mac Jones throughout the first week of training camp. While each quarterback has had some ups and downs, the job figures to still be Newton’s to lose. His veteran status and wealth of NFL experience as a starting quarterback give him that advantage.

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Yet Jones has shown thus far that he can certainly make some NFL throws, and his overall performance on the practice field has made for an interesting story in Foxboro thus far.

On Friday, after the third training camp practice, both Newton and Jones spoke about the ongoing competition.

“Ever since I’ve been here, it’s been a quarterback competition,” Newton said. “I think that’s, in essence the underlying Patriot Way. Every position has a competition there, and the quarterback position is no different. Brian Hoyer is supposed to make me better. I’m supposed to make Mac Jones better. Mac Jones is supposed to make Brian Hoyer better. And you can’t forget about [Jake] Dolegala and even [Jarrett Stidham], that’s in the balance. … For us, it’s just the mentality to have that championship mental toughness each and every day and the desire to get better.”

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Jones said that Newton’s support and positive attitude has helped him thus far through three practices.

“He’s been a great teammate and he’s helped me and made it a lot of fun,” Jones said. “You know, your first couple of practices as a rookie, it’s gonna be hard. So he just tries to stay positive with me. And that’s just who Cam is. So hopefully I can learn, try to be like him in some ways and have fun with it, and we’re gonna grow together and we’re gonna help each other win games, hopefully.”

Jones, who was at Alabama during the run with Jalen Hurts and then Tua Tagovailoa before he got his own shot to run the offense, has been around competitive quarterback situations before. He said he’s navigated them and will continue to navigate them by focusing on making plays.

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“I think it just goes back to kind of focusing on yourself and when you’re in there, you’ve gotta do what you’re supposed to do as a quarterback. So if they present something, you have to fix the problem and get the ball to the playmakers and do your job,” Jones said. “So really it doesn’t have to do with other people as much as just playing your own game and supporting your teammates when they score, support the other quarterbacks when they make a good play, and that’s pretty much it. You can’t overcomplicate it too much.” Staff