The New England Patriots are in the middle of their busiest week of the offseason so far, but their incumbent starting quarterback is nowhere to be found. Cam Newton left last Friday’s organized team activity due to an apparent hand injury, and has not been spotted during the two practices since.
According to Bill Belichick, his status as an absentee won’t change for at least another day. Speaking with reporters during a video conference call on Thursday morning, the Patriots’ head coach gave an update on Newton and his outlook.
“He’s doing alright. He won’t participate today, but he’s getting better,” he said.
Belichick was asked in a follow-up question whether or not the injury would be serious. He said that it wouldn’t be, and while doing so again stated the relative optimism surrounding Newton’s medical status from a longer-term perspective.
“Well, he’s not out there. But I think he’ll be alright,” Belichick pointed out.
The Patriots are holding their final four voluntary OTA practices this week. They were working out on the fields behind Gillette Stadium on Monday and Tuesday, and will hold two more sessions on Thursday and Friday before kicking off their mandatory minicamp next week.
Belichick acknowledged that the Patriots’ other three quarterbacks — first-round rookie Mac Jones and veterans Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer — have seen more opportunities with Newton not present.
“This gives everybody more opportunities,” he said.
The future Hall of Famer also pointed out that one QB being absent changes the complexion of some of his team’s drills. As one example, he said that drills usually constructed in a two-and-two format would now have to be run differently.
That said, Belichick praised offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for his organizational skills and for finding ways to give all of the players present the right amount of opportunities to learn.
“Josh does a good job of working that out depending on what we’re doing and what each individual player needs and so forth, trying to give the right amount of work to the guys however it breaks down. He’s got a lot of experience doing that,” Belichick said.
“Josh does a great job of getting everybody prepared and that could come in a variety of ways — from meetings, to walkthroughs, to practice reps, to how he splits them up in individual drills and so forth. There’s a lot of different opportunities. He’s done it very well and continues to do that. We’ve talked about it, but individually he’s the one who has to really make those decisions and he does a great job with it.”
Newton, who started 15 of 16 games for the Patriots last year, was usually the first quarterback going through drills during the two practice sessions open to reporters so far. With him out, Mac Jones and Jarrett Stidham have both seen QB1-level reps.