FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots’ starting quarterback battle seemingly is over, even if the team won’t acknowledge the obvious.
In Thursday’s training camp practice — the most intense one yet — Cam Newton took 37 snaps in full-team drills to Jarrett Stidham’s 19 and Brian Hoyer’s 15.
But the competition to be Newton’s all-important backup still rages on between Stidham and Hoyer, and there’s no obvious choice with just over two weeks to go before the 2020 NFL season.
Stidham, who missed important practice reps earlier this week while he dealt with an injury, was asked Thursday if he still feels like he’s competing for the top gig under center.
“Yeah. No, I definitely feel like — how I view things is every day is a competition,” Stidham said. “Whether I’m first string, second string, third string, fourth string, fifth string, I don’t view it as that. I just view it as a great opportunity to get better with my teammates every single day and to compete really hard. I look at it as competing against myself, too, and trying to learn and grow every single day, to help myself get better each and every day I go out there on the field.”
Stidham was the Patriots’ prospective starter until Newton became the favorite after signing in early July. Newton has dealt with foot and shoulder injuries in recent seasons, and if those ailments crop back up, the Patriots will need a dependable backup.
Hoyer has the most knowledge of the Patriots’ offensive system of the team’s top three quarterbacks, but Stidham still has upside as New England’s potential future starter with Newton on a one-year contract.
Stidham served as the Patriots’ backup quarterback throughout the entire 2019 season, beating out Hoyer for a roster spot during cutdowns. If Stidham suddenly takes a backseat to Hoyer to start the 2020 season, then he’s possibly trending in the wrong direction.
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