Sportress of Blogitude

Cam Newton third in line for Patriots practice reps at camp

Cam Newton has been anointed the presumptive starting quarterback of the New England Patriots, but Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels are going to make the former MVP earn it if that is indeed the case.

During Wednesday’s training camp practice session, Newton was third in line when it came to quarterback reps, sitting behind Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham.

Newton, however, did get his reps in eventually.

Stidham was the presumptive heir apparent to Tom Brady when the six-time Super Bowl winner departed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. However, Newton’s arrival changed the calculus on the Patriots’ previously laid plans.

Stidham nevertheless insists Newton’s arrival has not shaken his confidence by any measure, and he plans to put forth every effort to secure the Patriots’ starting quarterback spot.

As far as Newton’s spot in the rotation is concerned, it stands to reason that the Patriots are not trying to send Newton some kind of message by relegating him to being third in QB reps. Instead, it’s far more likely that the team is playing it cautious with the veteran quarterback early on in camp to gauge whether he is fully recovered from surgery last December to treat a Lisfranc fracture suffered earlier in the season.

The latest of Newton’s long line of injuries limited him to only two games with the Carolina Panthers in his final season with the team. It makes sense that the Patriots would opt to take things slowly with Newton. His unfamiliarity with the team’s playbook presumably could be playing a role as well.

All that being said, Belichick did say that Newton will not be handed the starter’s job and that the Patriots intend to hold an open competition during training camp.

Newton enters his first Patriots camp with an enormous chip on his shoulder thanks to how he languished on the market after the Panthers cut him loose. Perhaps the challenge of working his way up the depth chart will further fire up the quarterback.