While Bill Belichick never would admit as much at this juncture, one has to imagine the Patriots’ starting quarterback job is Cam Newton’s to lose.
Newton is the most accomplished signal-caller among those competing for the gig in New England, and he could provide a new wrinkle to the team’s offense that never was available to Bill Belichick and Co. over the past two decades. That said, there’s one big question mark hovering over Newton as he competes to be the Patriots’ starter under center.
The 31-year-old is coming off two season-ending injuries, one of which was to his shoulder. Should there be any lingering effects from the shoulder injury and Newton’s accuracy, in turn, is diminished, NFL analyst Shaun O’Hara believes the 2015 NFL MVP could be beaten out for the job.
“The one thing they have had over the last 20 years with Tom Brady is an accurate quarterback,” O’Hara said on NFL Network. “Tom Brady’s not skipping rocks out there in 7-on-7. He’s not overthrowing guys. …That’s the one thing that could change or muddy the water, if Cam is struggling. If that shoulder is not quite there yet and the accuracy’s not there.”
Newton probably can’t afford any major slip-ups like poor accuracy. Judging off the Patriots’ first few padded practices of the summer, it appears as though both Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer will have every opportunity to build their cases in training camp.