If Cam Newton succeeds Tom Brady as the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots, he will have to earn a job at training camp. Bill Belichick briefly stopped naming Newton the team’s QB1.
“That place is the same as all the other spots on the team. We have a long way to go. We’ll see how things turn,” Belichick said Friday in his first public comments since Newton signed on the team. “I can’t control how the players perform; it’s up to them. We’ll give everyone a chance and see what happens. I don’t know.”
Belichick agrees with that kind of strategy in his 20 seasons as coach of the Patriots, though no question will start with the quarterback when Brady gets the top job in 2001, helping the franchise to its first six Super Bowl champions .
Brady’s free-agent departure from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March created a void mammoth Newton – based on career résumé – was the top candidate to fill in after agreeing to a one-year club contract in late June.
“We spent a bit on Cam, [had] a number of different people, and a variety of conversations, just trying to see what would be appropriate. This was very positive in our conclusion. I’m glad it worked, ”Belichick said.
Newton’s main competition was fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham, a fellow Auburn alum. Brian Hoyer, an 11-year veteran, is on the deep chart with undrafted free agent Brian Lewerke of Michigan State.
Stidham served as the Patriots ’top backup last year, and he helped arrange throwing sessions to those received in suburban Boston a few months into the offseason. When Newton officially joined the Patriots, he connected some of the team’s pass-catchers to Los Angeles last month, such as Julian Edelman and 2019 first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry.
But Newton has a basis after losing the team’s virtual offseason program during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Meetings are useful for all of us – for the players, the staff – kind of a combination of things. I feel like we did what we could. We got a lot out of the opportunities we had,” he said. says Belichick, recognizing that they are different from being skilled on the farm.
As for how the Patriots would make a playbook without naming a starting quarterback, Belichick said it would be the same as it was in the first 20 years of his tenure.
“You built a general structure that you implemented. Everyone needs to know some foundations and some basics. Every player, no matter how long he or she has been playing – whether it’s two years or 20 years – still has one major development in the training camp. in that player’s position, “Belichick said. “That’s where we start. That, I think, is what needs to be done, regardless of the player or what position he plays. …
“I don’t think you start with a training camp with your football team putting in a triple-reverse, or double-reverse pass, or things like this that can highlight a particular player. That’s what kinds of things that go down the road. “
While the Patriots ’plans to replace Brady are carefully watched, so too is how the team is excited to have an NFL-high six-player to join during 2020, a linebacker-led team Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung and starting right tread on Marcus Cannon.
Asked about his reaction to the opt-outs, Belichick said, “I respect them all. I talked to those people and they explained their situation. We have to make a decision that is best for them and I respect and fully support it. 100 percent. “
Belichick added that he is not sure if there are more players who can decide not to go out in time.
“Everyone has to make their own individual decisions about it. They have to weigh their own situation,” he said. “Each of us is unique and we all have different lives, situations, families, environments and so on and so forth.”