FOXBOROUGH — Cam Newton is still No. 1.
Bill Belichick reiterated his draft night statement that Newton is the Patriots’ starting quarterback, while adding that every player on the team must reestablish his standing every year, leaving open the possibility that the depth chart can change at any position and at any time.
“We’ll take a look at the whole situation. I don’t think you want to evaluate players at any position off of one or two plays, or maybe a day,’’ the coach said Saturday when asked about the quarterback competition. “So, from a consistency standpoint that’s always important and obviously production. So, hopefully those things will be good and I’m sure it’ll be a hard decision. We’ll see how it goes. Let them play and try to do what we feel like is best for the team based on their performance.”
When asked if he had a time in mind to name a starter, Belichick reaffirmed his commitment to Newton, calling him the “starting quarterback.”
Newton has led off all team periods through four training camp practices, with rookie Mac Jones following.
“We all have to reestablish ourselves, and that goes for a lot of other players that you could name as well that I’m sure in your mind you think they are starters, and maybe they are starters and they probably will be starters, but they all have to reestablish their positions,” Belichick said. “That’s across the board for the whole team. That doesn’t just pertain to one person or position.”
Newton said Friday that positional competition is “the underlying Patriot Way” and he’s felt like he’s been battling for his spot ever since he arrived in New England. Jones said, “We’re all competing for a job.”
Following a sharp day for Newton and Jones, the signal-callers struggled some on Saturday before both finished with a flourish. Unofficially, Newton completed 13 of 21 passes in competitive team drills. He did show off nice arm strength and accuracy during some individual drills, hitting on a couple of long passes, though there were no defenders.
Jones was 12 of 17, including a 4-for-4 finishing period that was his best of the week.
Newton hit on 3 of 5 throws in his final period — another in a long line of red area sessions this week. His first pass, intended for Jonnu Smith, fell incomplete, though Adrian Phillips may have been guilty of pass interference.
Newton’s last two passes were highlights. First, he hit Damien Harris on a nifty end zone fade, and then he fired a frozen rope to Jakobi Meyers who held on despite tight, handsy coverage from Jonathan Jones.
Mac Jones’s finale included a zipper to Kristian Wilkerson (he’s having a nice camp), a checkdown to N’Keal Harry (he showed nice burst), a rollout to Brandon Bolden (he dived and touched the ball off the pylon), and diving catch by Meyers.