Bill Belichick has said as recently as two weeks ago that Cam Newton is the New England Patriots' starting quarterback.
But Newton didn't exactly speak like a player whose job is secure Monday.
The veteran quarterback was asked after the Patriots' joint practice session with the Eagles in Philadelphia if Belichick has told him he'd be starting New England's season opener over rookie Mac Jones.
"Man, you know the answer to that question," Newton responded.
When our Tom E. Curran followed up and told Newton that Belichick had labeled him the starter earlier this summer, the 32-year-old revealed he hadn't heard that same message from Belichick.
"I don't know what y'all want me to say," Newton responded. "You know he hasn't said that, so for you to just ask the question, it is what it is. Every single day I'm coming out here with the anticipation to just get better, and that's the only thing that I can do. So, I can control that."
Newton then added that "everything y'all know, I know" about who has the edge in his competition with Jones.
"There's no hidden motives or anything like that," he said. "I do know, those things like that, I can't worry about. I don't necessarily care about who's starting. I mostly care about making sure I put the best product out on the field for me. I know Mac is feeling the same way. I know Brian (Hoyer) is feeling the same way, going down the line at each and every position."
Translation: The Patriots' starting QB job is very much up for grabs. Since Belichick's support of Newton on July 31, Jones has looked impressive, showing poise during training camp and completing 13-of-19 passes in a strong preseason debut last Thursday.
Newton has the upper hand in terms of experience and cachet, but the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft appears to be rapidly closing the gap.