Let the games begin.
On Monday, July 27, the New England Patriots‘ quarterbacks will arrive at training camp, and this group will be watched like a hawk from the moment they arrive at the practice facility throughout the preliminaries ahead of the 2020 NFL season.
The competition for the starting quarterback position will likely begin from Day 1 between Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham. Brian Hoyer is there and in the mix, as are two undrafted free agents J’Mar Smith and Brian Lewerke.
However, the spotlight will be on Cam Newton from the beginning.
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What to Watch For When Cam Newton Arrives
While it has nothing to do with football, everyone will be watching for the style Newton brings to the facility. Will he wear one of his signature hats, and what will his demeanor be once he arrives?
Newton has always been a team-first player on the field, but his celebrations and flamboyance have made others feel as though he was something different. It will be interesting to see what he chooses to do as it pertains to making a first in-person impression.
Don’t expect to see a ton of work on this day because the players will likely be getting acquainted with the facilities if they’re new like Newton, and there will also almost certainly by COVID-19 tests.
What to Watch For When Jarrett Stidham Arrives
Stidham is so understated and in many ways the polar opposite from Newton. That’s not a good or bad thing, it just is the reality. I’ll be watching for his level of comfort, at least from what we’ll be able to see based on the images and videos that emerge from the day.
Will he and Newton interact? What’s his understanding of the training camp process? Does he expect to be the starter?
What to Watch For From Brian Hoyer
Few people are talking about Hoyer, but he still has an outside chance to start in Week 1 because he has the most experience working in the Patriots’ offense and organization. With preseason games canceled, getting up to speed quickly will be paramount.
He won’t arrive with fanfare but could wind up playing a major role as an early starter or as an extension of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels helping Newton and Stidham get acclimated.
What Watch For From the Undrafted Free Agent Quarterbacks
At one point it appeared Smith and Lewerke would be battling each other for the third quarterback spot, but now it seems doubtful either of them make the team unless Newton, Stidham, or Hoyer get injured or is released.
The only person who might fall into that category is Newton and that’s only if his skills have eroded to a point where he can’t beat out Stidham. That seems unlikely.
As it is, Smith and Lewerke are stepping into an even more uncertain situation than normal for an UDFA. Find me a team in the NFL with a more fascinating story. There isn’t one.
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