New Patriots Training Camp: Will Cam Newton Win The Starting Job?

Cam Newton enters the New England Patriots’ 2021 training camp as the favorite to start at quarterback. (PHOTO COURTESY: AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

By Matt Noonan

A brand new season of New England Patriots football is quickly approaching — are you ready for some football?

I am — I have been counting the days, weeks, and months since the Patriots concluded their 2020 campaign with a two-touchdown victory over the New York Jets in January at Gillette Stadium.

Like many, I am excited to see how some of the team’s offseason signings mesh with members of last year’s squad, including quarterback Cam Newton, who will enter the team’s 2021 training camp on Wednesday, July 28 as the favorite to be spotted under center in week one against the Miami Dolphins.

Newton did not have a great 2020 season — I think many know that or are aware of how he performed last fall. But coach Bill Belichick has acquired some solid pieces for the offense over the past few months, including tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Both players should certainly help Newton, as well as the offense, perform even better than they did last season — New England won just seven games in 2020 but had a chance to squeak out a few more victories had things gone their way down the stretch, especially against the Buffalo Bills in New York.

With a full year under his belt, along with some offseason practices (and meetings, of course), Newton enters training camp more prepared than he was last year, however, he certainly will be challenged by Mac Jones, who the Patriots selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft in April.

Like Newton, Jones competed in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) — Jones played at Alabama while Newton competed at Auburn — and should be ready to take the reigns from the league’s most valuable player in 2015.

Jones led the Crimson Tide to a national championship in January — Alabama rolled past Ohio State, 52-24, in the College Football Playoff National Championship contest, which was held in Miami Gardens, Florida — and recorded career-highs in completions (311), passing yards (4,500), and touchdowns (41). And despite seeing limited action in 2018 and 2019, Jones should be able to translate his junior season’s success to the NFL this summer and fall.

Jones certainly has what it takes to challenge Newton for the starting quarterback spot — I am unsure if Jarrett Stidham is ready to slide up the depth chart considering he will begin his team’s camp Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Stidham has competed in eight games since becoming a member of the Patriots organization, including five contests last season. The former Auburn signal-caller completed 22 of 44 passes for a career and season-high 250 yards and two touchdowns. He did, however, throw three interceptions compared to one in 2019.

Numerous talking heads, along with various analysts believe Mac Jones could be the starter in the opening week, but it will all depend on how he handles himself during in-game situations. As Patriots.com’s Mike Dussault explains, “Every throw of 11-on-11 work will be dissected ad nauseam, but the bottom line is whether or not Jones or Stidham do enough to dethrone Newton, and can Newton hold them off by taking significant strides in his second year in the offense.”

For now, my bet is Cam Newton will be the starter in the opening week, but I do think Patriots fans will see Mac Jones under center at some point this fall — maybe against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week four? I am not sure if week four is when Jones will be thrusted into the lineup, but we’ll certainly learn more about his readiness when the Patriots scrimmage the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles later this summer. Those inter-squad practices will help us identify which quarterback(s) is ready to lead the hometown team to hopefully a postseason appearance next January.

Daily Noontime (Thursday, October 16, 2020)

 

By Matt Noonan

Welcome to Thursday, everyone! 

It’s quite chilly outside this morning. In fact, I almost ordered a hot coffee from Starbucks but chose a cold brew instead. Was that a bad decision? 

Let’s get to some news from the sports world, beginning with a recent update from the National Football League (NFL): The Atlanta Falcons are shutting down their facility due to “multiple positive tests.” 

What exactly does this mean? We’re unsure, but as of now, the Falcons are scheduled to meet the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, but that game could be postponed or canceled, so stay tuned. 

I am sorry to share not-so-good news (again!), but Nick Saban, who is the head coach of the University of Alabama‘s football team, has tested positive for the coronavirus. Additionally, Greg Byrne, who is the school’s athletic director, also tested positive, which means this weekend’s conference clash between the Tide and the University of Georgia could be postponed, but who knows? 

As we noted yesterday on our mid-afternoon ‘Daily Noontime,’ two Southeastern Conference (SEC) football games for this weekend have been postponed. According to this week’s schedule from ESPN.com (as of 9 a.m. this morning), three college football games have been postponed this week. Could we see a few more due to a recent uptick in coronavirus cases?  

Staying in the college athletic world, the NCAA‘s Division I Council voted yesterday to provide student-athletes that compete during the wintertime an extra year of eligibility. And according to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, those that play basketball or hockey would be able to return to campus next year even if they play one or two contests. 

The NCAA also unveiled 450 host sites for upcoming championships, including lacrosse, which will return to Gillette Stadium in 2025 and 2026

Here are some more news and links from the world wide web: 

Daily Noontime (Wednesday, October 14, 2020)

By Matt Noonan 

Happy Wednesday, everyone! 

Yes, I know we’re posting a bit later, but after you read the ‘Daily Noontime’ for Wednesday, October 14, make sure to listen to a brand new Noontime Sports podcast with KC Chhipwadia, who is the chief executive offer and founder of Athlete Foundry. You will really enjoy this podcast – I came away very inspired by Chhipwadia’s story. 

Let’s begin this afternoon’s (and yes, today’s) ‘Daily Noontime’ with some good news: the New England Patriots are “reportedly” heading back to the practice field today. However, Jim McBride of the Boston Globe tweeted last night that the Patriots would just be at Gillette Stadium for “workouts,” not practice, so does anyone know what’s going on? 

One thing we know is that Massachusetts native Meghan Duggan, who led Team USA to a gold medal in the 2018 Olympics, announced she is retiring yesterday on Twitter

Duggan, who is from Danvers, played high school hockey locally at Cushing Academy before extending her career to the University of Wisconsin. She also played professionally for the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) and led the boycott ahead of the World Championships so the women’s national team would receive “increased pay and comparable accommodations to the men’s team.”

Staying locally, the high school soccer world has had to adapt due to the coronavirus pandemic, which included some new rules that one student-athlete considers “crazy.” This is a BAD look for high school soccer officials in the Bay State. 

Here are more links and news from the world wide web: 

  • The Southeastern Conference (SEC) has canceled not one, but two games for this upcoming weekend, including Florida vs. LSU. Uh oh! 
  • The 2020 National Basketball Association‘s (NBA) Finals ratings were not good. In fact, they were the “lowest-rated” series on ABC since the station began airing the championship contests 50 years ago. 
  • Is the youth sports world facing a crisis due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic? Maybe, according to the New York Times

Finally, Noontime Sports unveiled our first-ever ‘Noontime Original’ last night – we’re telling a story of a fictional high school football team in the Berkshires. Hopefully, you’ll read our first chapter

Daily Noontime: Friday, July 31, 2020

Daily Noontime

By Matt Noonan 

Happy Friday, everyone!

Welcome to the final day of July – it has been a strange month, but the good news is tomorrow is August, and that means we are technically another day closer to some football, right?

Let’s end the month of July on a good note, so here is today’s Daily Noontime for Friday, July 31, 2020.

As usual, be well, stay safe, and have a great weekend, everyone!


Noontime’s Headlines for Friday, July 31, 2020 

  • The Boston Red Sox won their second-straight contest last night to bump their overall record to 3-4.

    Christian Vázquez powered the Sox to their third victory of the season last night against the New York Mets by finishing the Thursday evening affair with two runs, two hits, and three RBI.

  • Tonight, the Boston Red Sox will remain in the Empire State to take on the New York Yankees who currently lead the American League East with a 4-1 record.
  • Do you miss Mookie Betts? I know some Red Sox fans do, so here is a must-read from Michael Holley of NBC Sports Boston on why the eventual Hall of Famer left the area to compete for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) resumed its season last night. Here is what happened in case you did not tune in!
  • Let’s switch gears to college football where Greg Sankey, who is the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), shares some thoughts on why his league will only play conference games this fall.
  • And finally – I am sure you know this – but Tom Brady will be joined in the backfield this fall by LeSean McCoy, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This offense should be fun to watch.

Daily Noontime: Thursday, July 23, 2020

DNJuly232020

By NoontimeSports.com 

Happy Opening Day, everyone!

Doesn’t it seem strange that we’re starting a new baseball season in late July? Well, that is what happens when you’re living through a pandemic, but we are excited to cheer on our hometown Boston Red Sox.

Let’s kick off a brand new day with the Daily Noontime for Thursday, July 23, 2020 – have a great day, everyone!


Noontime’s Headlines for Thursday, July 23, 2020