NFL: AFC Wild Card-Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots
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The quarterback battle in New England has swung favorably in the direction of Cam Newton over the last week or so. Not only has the former MVP performed well in the Patriots system over the course of training camp, but his main source of competition, second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, has been hampered by poor play, possibly due to a hip injury that has limited him. If the season were to begin today, it'd be a safe bet that Newton would be under center as QB1. With that said, head coach Bill Belichick isn't ready to have a coronation for Newton just yet. 

During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show on Monday, Belichick was asked about Newton's progress in the Patriots system. While the head coach praised Newton for his worth ethic and ability to absorb New England's offense well, he wasn't ready to name him the starter. In fact, Belichick noted that it's still "a very competitive competition." 

"I have learned a lot about Cam," he said. "I had never really had much interaction with Cam, and then when we signed him, we had some phone calls and WebEx meetings and stuff like that. Being with him every day, he's an extremely hard-working player. First guy in, last one out type of guy. He's really studied hard and he has spent a lot of extra time trying to learn our offense and our communication and our calls, nomenclature, and so forth. I have been very impressed with that. He's done a good job of picking it up. He's a very skilled athlete and we're just working through it day-by-day.

"We have a long way to go, but we're taking steps and we have a very competitive competition at a very competitive position at the quarterback spot. It'll be interesting to see how everybody does."

Of course, this could be Belichick simply keeping his cards close to the vest and tactically keeping each quarterback on the roster engaged as they continue to roll through training camp. Still, Newton has crossed off nearly every box you'd want to see from him since he arrived in Foxborough. Players and coaches around the team have also noted the specific energy he brings to the table and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch even likened it to playing at recess. 

The Patriots will open up the 2020 regular season by hosting the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 13 and it's safe to assume that Belichick will continue to illustrate that there is a competition under center until the last possible moment. But, if we're being honest, this is Newton's job to lose at this point and he has a sizable lead.