The quarterback battle in New England waged forward on Tuesday as the Patriots held their second full-padded practice of training camp. Of course, this gives us a bit more insight as to who may have the edge in eventually claiming the spot that Tom Brady held for 20 years under center when the regular season kicks off in a few weeks. According to those on the scene in Foxborough on Tuesday, this day belonged to Cam Newton.
The former league MVP, who is entering his first season with the Patriots after signing a one-year deal with the club in July, completed nine of his 12 passes during team drills, according to The Athletic's Jeff Howe, and two of his misses were due to drops, making it an even more efficient day than those stats suggest. His one true incompletion was an overthrow of Damiere Byrd, who he had deep over the middle of the field. While that may be his lone blemish, it does provide some promise that his arm strength is in good form after dealing with a shoulder injury over the last few seasons.
As Bill Belichick highlighted on Monday, Newton getting caught up to speed with New England's playbook and terminology will be something that needs to evolve quickly for him to secure the starting job. Michael Giardi of the NFL Network sensed that Newton was still a bit delayed in his processing which caused a couple of no throws during the session.
As for Stidham, the second-year quarterback has seen better days, completing eight of his 11 throws with three interceptions, per Howe. On a positive side, Mike Reiss of ESPN notes that Stidham did have one of the best throws of the day -- a sideline pass to Damiere Brydd during 11-on-11 drills. Hoyer, meanwhile, has seemingly been the most consistent of the bunch, which makes sense considering his familiarity in the system, only missing two of his 11 throws during Tuesday's practice.
With two full-padded practices and 12 team periods in the books, it's still a dead heat as to who'll ultimately win the starting job, with no quarterback really separating himself just yet. Howe reports that Stidham has started the rotations five times throughout these two practices, while Newton has started four times. Hoyer comes up the rear being the first quarterback to begin drills three times thus far.
Naturally, you always need to take these practice nuggets with a grain of salt as Bill Belichick and company are still trying to figure out what the 2020 version of the Patriots will look like, which won't happen after two practices. There's going to be a lot of mixing and matching. It's going to take a bigger body of work for any of these quarterbacks to truly stamp themselves as the starter so while Newton may have had a strong day as Stidham struggled, that's just a minor victory in a much more in-depth QB war that is going down at 1 Patriot Place.