Saying he would consider whatever gives the Patriots the best chance to win, coach Bill Belichick didn’t rule out a QB platoon with Cam Newton.
Asked Wednesday morning before practice if it might be a benefit to pair two signal-callers with varied skill sets, Belichick said, “It might. I always say I’ll do what I think is best for the team, what gives us the best chance to win. Whatever that is, I would definitely consider it — run unbalanced line, double unbalanced line, 23 personnel. Whatever it is, if it helps us win, I would consider anything.”
Newton, who signed with the team July 8, is splitting repetitions evenly with 11-year veteran Brian Hoyer and 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham in practices. Unlike past years, Belichick won’t have the benefit of preseason games in making the decision.
Belichick acknowledged Wednesday that there will come a time when the division of repetitions will need to be altered — giving more to the quarterback(s) he envisions leading the team in the opener Sept. 13 against the Miami Dolphins — but he’s not at that point.
“Right now, we want to try to give everybody an opportunity to get the basics. We’re really doing that at all positions. Everyone is rotating through; we’re trying to give everyone an opportunity to run the basic plays, get the basic fundamentals now,” he said.
How the Patriots ultimately fill the void created by Tom Brady‘s free-agent departure is being closely watched at training camp, where the team is holding its third practice. Newton’s presence has been notable on the field, as has his efforts to connect with teammates.
“I feel like he has great energy. He’s fun to be around,” veteran receiver Mohamed Sanu said.
“He’s a hard worker, a great player. He brings a lot of energy to the field,” second-year receiver N’Keal Harry added.
But one point Belichick made is that Newton — whose mobility offers a dimension the Patriots haven’t had at the position — is playing catch-up compared to Hoyer and Stidham.
“All the quarterbacks have been good,” Belichick said Monday on the debut of ESPN Radio’s “Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin Show.”
“Brian Hoyer’s got the most experience of any of our quarterbacks in our system. Jarrett Stidham is really coming on here in Year 2. He got a great year last year, in terms of learning and personal and technique development at the position. And Cam has been a late addition, but he’s brought a lot of energy and obviously playing experience to our room. For him, it’s catching up on the specifics of the Patriots’ system, terminology and so forth, which he’s worked extremely hard at. …
“I just haven’t had experience working with Cam, but he works extremely hard. He puts a lot into it, as do Jarrett and Brian.”