So far, it's been Cam Newton and everybody else when speaking about the Patriots quarterback competition. With the regular season fast approaching, Newton has separated himself from both Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer to put himself in position to be New England's leading man under center in Week 1. 

Almost across the board, the former league MVP, who inked a one-year deal with the club back in July, has received tremendous praise from notable Foxborough figures. Patriots quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch said that working with Newton has been like playing at recess, Julian Edelman has photoshopped the two of them as Batman and Superman, and the latest piece of praise came from Bill Belichick himself, who gushed about his quarterback on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday.   

"You know, I can see why he had the kind of success that he had at Auburn and at Carolina," he said. "In talking to people that were with him there, the things that they said about him, at Auburn and at Carolina from a decade ago, or two, three years ago, or even last year, it was all the same and it showed up here. He's an extremely hard worker. Nobody works harder than Cam does. He's here early. He stays late, and he works very hard.

"You know, some players like to work on things that they're good at, like if you're strong on a bench press, then you just keep throwing more weight on the bench. But, Cam is the type of player that works on things that he's not as good at and really tries to improve on a daily basis and that is something that I really respect about him. That's not easy for players -- really any of us -- to do. Look at something that we don't feel like we're very good at, or it is not one of our strengths, and put extra time into it when I would say that is a natural tendency to do things you're good at. He's worked extremely hard in all those areas.

"He's got a great personality. He gets along with everybody. He's very social and has a great presence, whether it is in a small room of a couple people or in a bigger group, and he's highly competitive. He's very, very competitive on the field. He always wants to do his best and do better than the guy he's competing against. You see that from -- everybody's competitive -- but I think there are different degrees of it and it looks like I would, based on what I've seen, I would put him in the top echelon of that.

"But his competition extends way beyond the field. It's off the field and in meetings and training and so forth. You know, it's important for him to be the first guy up the hill when we run sprints and it's important to him to be first in everything that he competes in and you can see the effort and the amount of energy that he puts into that. I'd say those are some of the things that have jumped out in the month or so that we have been here in person."

Newton did miss Monday's practice, but, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, it was an excused absence. To this point, it seems clear with each and every high remark made by someone within Gillette Stadium that Newton will eventually be named the starter for the Patriots in 2020. That decision, however, has yet to be made public and when asked about how close he may be to naming a starter Belichick said on Monday, "when we're ready to do it, we'll do it."

Given Newton's play and Belichick rave reviews about his work ethic, however, naming him QB1 does feel like simply a formality at this point.