Though the choice is obvious to anyone who has watched a New England Patriots practice over the last week and a half, head coach Bill Belichick still isn’t ready to name a starting quarterback.
Cam Newton should be — and appears to be — the guy, but Belichick is making his Week 1 opponent, the Miami Dolphins, wait a little bit longer.
“I don?t know,” Belichick said Monday on a video conference call when asked if he’s close to naming a starting QB. “When we are ready to do it, we?ll do it.”
Newton received 23 snaps in Sunday’s final training camp practice open to the media. Veteran Brian Hoyer got 20 reps, while second-year pro Jarrett Stidham received 15 snaps.
The Patriots ran a simulated game Friday at Gillette Stadium. Newton and undrafted rookie Brian Lewerke quarterbacked one team, while Hoyer and Stidham led another.
The competition essentially has been over since Stidham suffered an injury, limiting his training camp reps, in the first week of practice. Stidham has upside after being selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Newton is an All-Pro and 2015 NFL MVP, while Hoyer has been a journeyman backup for 11 seasons who has started 38 games along the way.
Newton doesn’t quite look fully comfortable in the Patriots’ offense, but he went 9-of-13 in Sunday’s practice, and one of those incompletions was dropped and another was thrown away into the grass.
It’s unclear when and how the Patriots actually will name their starting quarterback. Belichick will speak to the media Wednesday and Friday this week. The Patriots must trim their roster to 53 players on Saturday.