The early returns from Cam Newton heading into his second season with the New England Patriots look promising.
Head coach Bill Belichick told reporters Tuesday that Newton is "way ahead of where he was last year at this time."
Belichick's comments come in the wake of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels discussing what he's seen from Newton so far this offseason.
"He came back this year at a much different position," McDaniels told reporters on June 3. "He has a different grasp of the offense, a different understanding of the terminology. Now we're working on refining the precision, the details."
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported last month on SportsCenter that Newton is the favorite to open this season as the Patriots starting quarterback, ahead of Mac Jones.
Newton was a late addition to New England's roster last year. The 2015 NFL MVP signed a one-year deal with the team on July 8. He was coming off foot surgery in December 2019 to repair a Lisfranc injury that kept him out for the final 14 games of the season.
Tasked with replacing Tom Brady under center, Newton finished 2020 with 2,657 passing yards and 592 rushing yards. He accounted for a total of 21 touchdowns in 15 starts.
New England will enter training camp next month with Newton and Jones, the No. 15 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, as its top two quarterbacks.