Patriots

Patriots Talk Podcast: How competitive is QB battle at this stage in camp?

Patriots
NBC Sports Boston Illustration

The New England Patriots entered training camp with a quarterback competition for the first time in many years, but how competitive is that position battle after a week of padded practice on the Gillette Stadium fields?

Cam Newton remains the favorite to start for the Patriots when they host the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season. Not only is he the most talented quarterback on the depth chart, the former league MVP is getting the majority of the snaps in practice as well.

On the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, our insiders Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed where the QB comeptition stands right now and how Newton is faring. 

"Bill Belichick can say it's a competitive competition — it just doesn't seem that way," Perry said. "He told us last week that eventually the reps were going to have to skew one way. They have skewed heavily toward Cam Newton, and maybe Jarrett Stidham being healthy would've changed that. But when you see Cam Newton get 40 snaps in 11-on-11 periods — and they had about 65 or so, and pretty much every other snap went to Brian Hoyer — that's significant.

"It tells you who they're trying to get ready here. Brian Hoyer knows the offense, and maybe Bill Belichick says we don't need to get him ready, we like him a lot, Cam still has to do X, Y, Z before we feel good about him starting. But even if Brian Hoyer is pinpoint in the short to intermediate area, it's not enough to beat out Cam Newton even if Cam Newton still doesn't know the entirety of the offense."

 
Patriots Talk Podcast: Pats can’t keep playing the waiting game with N’Keal Harry | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Even though Newton doesn't have the best understanding of the offense given his limited time with the team, his physical talent and the options he gives offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels make him the best player to start at quarterback in Week 1. 

"Brian Hoyer clearly has the best grasp of the offense," Perry explained. "You see them in the two-minute drill — he's barking out orders nonstop, making changes at the line, calling audibles. He's got them all. Cam Newton, I haven't heard nearly as much. Now, he'll make calls at the line as well, he's calling out the mike (linebacker) and helping out the offensive line with the protections, but they're on two different levels and Jarrett Stidham is somewhere in between. But Cam, it doesn't matter, because he understands enough, and he gives you so much more physically, not only with the run game but with the ability to throw it down the field better than Hoyer, that there's no question about who should be starting."

For the entire conversation on the Patriots quarterback competiton, and many other topics, check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or on YouTube.