FOXBORO, Mass. — Cam Newton has always been the clear favorite to win the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback job, and based on the order and number of practice reps in training camp, the competition is certainly trending further and further in that direction.
But does Newton consider himself to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback?
“Absolutely not,” Newton said Wednesday on a video conference call.
“Every day is a workday for me, and that label is not important to me right now,” Newton said. “I know there’s so much I need to get better at, so much that I need to learn, so much that I need to be comfortable with. And throughout this process, that’s the last thing that I’m pretty much worried about, knowing that there are certain things when I come to the line of scrimmage, and it’s just not as firing mentally as I would want it to be rather than other plays that may be called. And I see a person like (Brian Hoyer) go to the line and he’s just as sharp as it can be.”
Newton said he’s still leaning on his fellow quarterbacks, Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham, to pick up small details in the offense.
“There are things that I know I need to become better at, and until I get those things done, everything else is irrelevant,” Newton said.
Newton on Wednesday received 18 throwing reps to Hoyer’s nine and Stidham’s six. The discrepancy in snaps isn’t quite as dramatic as it has been in years past when Tom Brady was under center, but Newton does seem to be pulling away from the competition in the second week of training camp despite some growing pains.
As for Newton’s knowledge of the Patriots’ offense, the 2015 NFL MVP called it a “work in progress,” but he praised the efforts of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch in aiding him along.
“It’s been therapeutic for me,” Newton said. “Just knowing that these guys have been as patient throughout this process that I would have wanted them to be. Obviously, learning a 20-year installment of plays all in a short time span has been challenging but yet, I think it would have been more challenging if you didn’t have the tutelage of a Coach Josh and Jedd.
“Even the help of other quarterbacks, (Brian) Lewerke’s helping, Stiddy has helped me, Hoyster has helped me, receivers have helped me. And it’s been good advice going back and forth. Obviously there have been some things that haven’t been implemented before with me at the quarterback position.”
Newton and Brady are much different quarterbacks, so while the 20-year system is still in place, it could look quite a bit different by the time Week 1 rolls around if the three-time Pro Bowl signal-caller takes on the starting role.
Photo via New England Patriots