Padded practices are underway in Foxboro, giving New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick a chance to get a better look at how the team is progressing in training camp.
Perhaps nowhere will the spotlight shine brighter with pads on than the competition at quarterback, where incumbent Cam Newton is trying to hold off the team's top draft choice, Mac Jones, to become the Week 1 starter.
"Cam's our starting quarterback," Belichick said again over the weekend. But has Newton proven he can play well consistently yet?
With New England's first preseason game nine days away, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed on a brand new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.
"The consistency hasn't really been there for either one," Perry said, noting that Tuesday was Newton's best showing in camp to date. "Can Cam Newton do what he did today, tomorrow? And the next day?"
Curran believes that if Jones were to win the role of starting quarterback, it would have to be "by knockout," but said that opportunities are being provided for him. Curran cited 16 consecutive reps Jones received at quarterback on Monday.
"He is going through as arduous a training camp as any young quarterback has ever gone through here," Curran said. "They want him to know that he is in the crucible of a competition."
Also discussed in the new episode: What if...the Patriots platoon Newton and Jones? Curran and Perry note the economic advantages to having a quarterback on a rookie contract while analyzing which other players had strong performances Tuesday.