Perry: Patriots pile reps onto Newton's plate

Cam Newton throws a pass at Patriots training camp.
Getty Images

FOXBORO -- It was a beautiful day for football on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. There just wasn't any competitive football being played on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. 

The team's fifth practice of the week was a light session with no contact and no pads other than the little ones inside player helmets. And when the offense and defense actually convened on a field, those plays were executed at half-speed. 

As a result, today's Postcard is a short one. But it does detail the valuable work put in by Cam Newton and the lack of reps for Jarrett Stidham, who's dealing with an injury.


No pads. Shorts. Helmets.


N'Keal Harry missing once again. It was his third consecutive missed training camp practice. Also absent from the session were Stephon Gilmore, Adrian Phillips and Yodny Cajuste -- all of whom also missed Thursday. Derek Rivers, Beau Allen, Tashawn Bower, D'Angelo Ross, Sony Michel (PUP) and Lamar Miller (PUP) were out as well. 

Stidham and Kyle Dugger were limited participants. Jeff Thomas was also a limited participant after coming down awkwardly on the turf after making a leaping catch. Rookie kicker Justin Rohrwasser did not kick any field goals in front of reporters for the fourth consecutive day. 


After stretching -- during which Stidham was not participating as aggressively as some of his quarterback teammates -- the Patriots performed position-specific drills and the quarterbacks threw against no defense to their pass-catchers. 

As the offense-versus-defense portions of practice got underway, 11-on-11 periods made up the majority of the work. Punt periods were sprinkled in. None of them were competitive. 



Jarrett Stidham participated in drills Friday but as soon as the 11-on-11 periods began, he remained sidelined. NFL Network reported that he is dealing with a hip injury. ESPN reported that Stidham visited a hospital on Thursday night but tests on his injury came back negative.

Newton took 26 snaps behind center during 11-on-11 work, playing out situations that seemed to be thrown at the offense and defense at random by Bill Belichick. Brian Hoyer, meanwhile, also saw 26 11-on-11 snaps. For Newton, in particular, as a new quarterback in the system, even half-speed reps carried with them a great deal of value as he attempts to make a series of leaps in his understanding of a new offense.

“Cam," quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch said, "has been here I think it is officially now 23 days and I think from like July 28 to call it today — 24 days or whatever it might be — the improvement that he is making on a daily basis are sometimes what you could see some other guys that have been in the same system for a few years make on a monthly basis. 

"How quickly the increments have to occur for him because he just doesn’t have a lot of time and he’s coming from learning a brand new system, brand new terminology, brand new drops, brand new players and really when you look at it, you’re not going full speed until call it eight, nine, 10 days ago. I think the leaps that he’s taking each day have been really impressive based on the fact that there’s a huge foundational gap from call it not having been here the spring or the season before."