It’s just training camp practice, but Cam Newton continues to distance himself from Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer in the New England Patriots‘ QB race. Newton reportedly set a practice record on Sunday for pass attempts in a display that is more important than it might appear on the surface.
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Cam Newton’s Pass Attempts Are Way Up
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After Thursday's practice, most experts consider him the leader in the QB race. The Athletic's Jeff Howe wrote: "Cam Newton was decisively the Patriots’ best quarterback of the day. He was 10 of 17 in team drills and completed passes to James White (three), Devin Ross (two), Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Mohamed Sanu, J.J. Taylor and Rex Burkhead (one each)." #Patriots #NewEnglandPatriots #PatriotsNations #CamNewton #StephonGilmore #DevinMcCourty #JasonMcCourty #PatrickChung #BrandonBolden #LawrenceGuy #ChaseWinovich #JoshUche #KyleDugger #JoeThuney #JamesHarris #LamarMiller #JarrettStidham #AdamButler #DariusKilgo #DevinAsiasi #DaltonKeene #JulianEdelman #NKealHarry #MohamedSanu #DavidAndrews #BillBelichick #RobertKraft #AFCEast #AFC #NFL
According to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, no Patriots’ quarterbacks has thrown as many passes during a training camp practice session as Newton tossed on Sunday.
Cam Newton's 39 throws in team drills were the most I've ever recorded in a single practice (going back to 2016).
Previous high was 36 from Jimmy Garoppolo (8/4/17) and Brian Hoyer (8/3/18 when Tom Brady got his birthday off).
The most Brady had was 35 on Aug. 7, 2017. https://t.co/oA4VIEt840
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) August 23, 2020
There are several reasons for Newton’s increased workload, and all of them point to the 2015 NFL MVP being firmly in the lead for the team’s starting quarterback spot.
More Throws in Practice Means the QB1 Spot is Newton’s to Lose
Stidham was at one point considered Newton’s biggest competition for the starting spot, but he has seemingly fallen all the way to QB3 status. Stidham has been battling a hip injury which has kept him out of practice or limited through the latter part of last week and into this week.
Also, Stidham has struggled with interceptions having thrown seven of them during the training camp practice sessions. Newton hasn’t been perfect, but without a question, he’s been far better than Stidham.
As for Hoyer, he’s been mostly solid, but he has the lowest ceiling of all three Patriots quarterbacks. CLNS’ Evan Lazar wrote:
When Hoyer is in there, the Patriots offense runs a lot smoother than the other quarterbacks at practice. The veteran QB knows the playbook, makes all the proper checks and audibles at the line and gets the ball out quickly and to the right receiver. However, his ceiling is capped by limited arm strength and playmaking abilities that lead to tons of check-downs rather than pushing the ball downfield into closing passing windows. If Hoyer starts games this year, you can understand it from a knowledge and timing perspective. But it’s hard to imagine a productive offense with these skill players quarterbacked by Hoyer.
When you consider Newton has a bigger arm than Hoyer, and his surgically repaired shoulder seems to be holding up, and he’s clearly the more athletic of the two veterans, it would appear he’d be the easy choice for the Patriots. All of this equates to 39 throws on Sunday.
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