Cam Newton Reportedly Named Patriots' Starting QB over Jarrett Stidham

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2020

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) warms up before an NFL football training camp scrimmage, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, Pool)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Cam Newton is the official successor to Tom Brady after the New England Patriots confirmed their starting quarterback for their Week 1 game against the Miami Dolphins.

Jim McBride of the Boston Globe first reported the team announced the news in a team meeting Thursday. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirmed the report through a source.

Newton, Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer were vying for the job this offseason, with Newton and Stidham widely viewed as the strongest candidates.

ESPN's Field Yates reported the Patriots players also voted Newton as one of their three offensive captains.

New England has been playing its cards close to the vest this offseason regarding the quarterback battle. Based on how head coach Bill Belichick has been running team practices, Thursday's news comes as little surprise.

Newton has been getting more reps than Stidham or Hoyer.

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"By the end of the fourth practice, Newton wrested control of the quality reps and Jarrett Stidham suffered a minor hip injury, completely changing the landscape of the position," The Athletic's Jeff Howe wrote on Aug.  28.

Howe noted the absence of preseason games also robbed Stidham of the opportunity to prove himself in game situations.

This felt like Newton's job to lose from the moment he signed with the Patriots. 

He's a three-time Pro Bowler and the 2015 MVP. Hoyer is a career backup, while Stidham only attempted four passes—one of which was a pick-six—as a rookie.

Health has been a big question mark around Newton in recent years. He was limited to two games last season after having undergone shoulder surgery in January 2019. He then had foot surgery in December. His lengthy layoff might have been beneficial, though, in that he finally had time for his body to recuperate after having played through his shoulder injury in 2018.

Even assuming he can no longer assume the same kind of workload he did with the Carolina Panthers, Newton will bring a new wrinkle to the Patriots offense. Tom Brady's best rushing season (110 yards in 2012) represents fewer than one-third of Newton's career-low production on the ground (359 yards in 2016) when excluding 2019.

Newton's newly earned captaincy might say more about how well he has meshed with his new team.

Life after Brady might not be that bad in New England.