On Thursday afternoon, reports out of Foxborough stated that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had informed the team earlier that day about his intentions at the quarterback position: Cam Newton would take the top spot on the depth chart heading into the season, leaving the other three passers — Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, Brian Lewerke — competing for the backup roles.
On Friday morning, however, Belichick was not willing to publicly call Newton the team’s new QB1. During a conference call with the media, he quickly rebuffed any reports indicating that such a decision has been made and communicated to the team.
“We’re not naming any starters at any positions,” Belichick said. “Any conversations that I’ve had with the team will stay between me and the team. But we’re not naming any rosters, starters, or positions or who’s on the team or anything else like that.”
Belichick’s answer should not necessarily come as a surprise despite Thursday’s report. The future Hall of Famer has never openly discussed a players’ standing on the roster with the notable exception being Tom Brady coming back from his four-game suspension to open the 2016 season. Otherwise, however, his and the team’s intentions in relations to roster and depth chart construction were never discussed in the open.
So while Belichick did not confirm the report that Newton would be the Patriots’ starter, the former league MVP should still be expected to be prepared as such heading into the regular season opener. That was, after all, the development ever since he started pulling away in the quarterback race following Stidham’s hip injury suffered late during the first week of full-pads training camp practices.