If Cam Newton is to succeed Tom Brady as the New England Patriots starting quarter back, he has to earn the job in the training camp. Bill Belichick stopped to appoint Newton as the team’s QB1.
“This place is the same as all other places on the team. We still have a long way to go. We will see how things develop,” Belichick said in his first public statements since Newton’s signature on Friday. “I can’t control how the players do. It’s up to them. We’ll give everyone an opportunity and see what happens. I don’t know.”
Belichick agreed to this approach in his 20 seasons as a Patriots coach, although there was no question who would start the quarterback when Brady took the top job in 2001
Brady’s departure as a free agent at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March created a mammoth gap that Newton – based on his career resume – fills as a leading candidate after signing a one-year contract with the club in late June.
“We spent quite a bit of time on cam, [had] a bunch of different people and a bunch of different conversations just to see what the fit would be like. It was very positive for us. I’m glad it worked, “said Belichick.
Newton’s main competition in 2019 will be Jarrett Stidham, an Auburn alum. Brian Hoyer, an 11-year-old veteran, is also on the depth map alongside uncovered free agent Brian Lewerke from the state of Michigan.
Stidham was the best backup of the patriots last year and helped organize throwing sessions with recipients in a suburb of Boston for several months in the off-season. After officially joining the patriots, Newton connected with some of the team’s passers-by in Los Angeles last month, such as Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry from the first round in 2019.
But Newton has some catching up to do after missing out on the team’s virtual offseason program during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The meetings were beneficial to all of us – the players, the staff – and brought things together. I felt like we were doing what we could. We got a lot out of the opportunities we had.” said Belichick. They admitted that they were different from being able to practice on the field.
How the patriots will build a playbook without naming a quarterback, Belichick said it would be the same as in the first 20 years of his tenure.
“You have a general structure that you implement. Everyone has to learn certain basics and certain basics. Every player, no matter how long he has played – whether two or 20 years – there is still a fundamental progress towards the training camp at the position this player, “said Belichick. “This is where we start. In my opinion, it has to be done regardless of who the player is or what position he plays. …
“I don’t think you start out in training camp with your soccer team playing a triple-reverse or double-reverse pass or things that could highlight a particular player. These are the things that get to the point of the street a little bit. “
While the patriots’ plans to replace Brady are being closely watched, the team is also watching how it prepares for six NFL players to leave the 2020 season, a group led by linebacker Dont’a Hightower, security Patrick Chung and Start will tackle Marcus Cannon properly.
In response to the opt-outs, Belichick asked, “I respect all of them. I spoke to these guys and they explained their situation. They had to make the decision that was best for them and I respect and support them 100 percent . “
Belichick added that he was not sure if there would be more players who could choose to end the season.
“Everyone has to make their own individual decisions. They have to weigh up their own situation,” he said. “Each of us is unique and we all have different lives, situations, families, environments and so on and so on.”