Morning sports update: Willie McGinest thinks Cam Newton is ‘the guy’ for the Patriots at quarterback

"If he’s healthy he’s the guy."

Cam Newton during his time with the Panthers.
Cam Newton during his time with the Panthers. –AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File

The Red Sox snapped a four-game losing streak on Wednesday, defeating the Rays 5-0.

The Celtics also won, destroying the Nets, 149-115. It was the team’s largest point total since 1992.

The Bruins were the only local team to lose on Wednesday, falling 3-2 to the Lightning. The loss means that Boston will not be the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed in the upcoming NHL playoffs.

Willie McGinest doesn’t think the Patriots have much of a quarterback debate: When asked about the Patriots’ possible quarterback controversy heading into the 2020 season, Bill Belichick told reporters last week that the job was essentially an open competition.

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“We’ll give everybody an opportunity and see what happens,” said Belichick.

But with 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton under contract and highly motivated, one former Patriot doesn’t believe that either Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer have much of a chance.

Speaking with WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe” on Wednesday, former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest gave his own analysis.

“Well, they say it’s a competition, but if you are asking my opinion, I expect to see Cam Newton start at the quarterback position,” McGinest predicted. “If he’s healthy he’s the guy.”

McGinest, who played for the Patriots from 1994 through the 2005 season, knows that the current team has much to replace on defense. Following several prominent free agent departures, and defensive leaders like Dont’a Hightower opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, McGinest tried to convey how great a loss it is.

“Very challenging,” McGinest said of the losses to the defense, because those guys are impact players. They’re great locker room leaders. Of course we know the plays and all the intangibles that they bring off the field being captains and leaders and playmakers. So anytime you lose guys like that, it’s tough to replace. But over the years we have seen this team overcome so many obstacles, whether it’s injuries, whether it’s guys leaving, whatever the case may be.”

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“Luckily they have time to figure it out,” McGinest added.

Trivia: What Patriots offensive lineman — who played for New England for 10 seasons — was selected in the second round of the 2001 draft?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He blocked for Drew Brees and Kyle Orton in college.

More from Boston.com:

Pedro Martinez, clearly throwing a changup:

An update from MLS commissioner Don Garber about the plan for post-tournament games:

On this day: In 1966, Muhammad Ali knocked out English boxer Brian London in the third round.

Unbelievably, Ali was not thought of as a great “puncher” by London. Of course, the 24-year-old heavyweight champion dispelled this notion with a smooth and speedy style that enveloped London in a flurry of punches.

The decisive moment arrived in the third round, when Ali positioned London exactly where he wanted him. The result was London ending up on the Earls Court canvass, and Ali easily retaining his title.

Daily highlight: Jaylen Brown found Daniel Theis with a nicely worked assist in the Celtics’ win on Wednesday.

Trivia answer: Matt Light

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