Patriots: Cam Newton’s absence makes no difference in QB battle

Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton was absent from practice for five days. It looks like it didn’t matter to the team as he was taking first-team reps today.

Much has been made about this absence. Let’s explore whether it has any real meaning in the purported quarterback competition between Newton and rookie Mac Jones or not.

Does New England Patriots Cam Newton’s absence matter in the QB competition?

The media frenzy has made the supposed New England Patriots quarterback competition between the incumbent, Cam Newton, and rookie phenom Mac Jones a big deal.

It has become a huge local, regional and national issue. So does Newton’s absence from the practice now really matter much?

It seems now that all it means is that Newton missed a few practices.

Sunday is the last preseason game of the summer and Newton may or may not stat for the Patriots and it may or may not make any difference at all. Let’s explore this in a bit more detail.

Why New England Patriots Cam Newton’s absence might make a difference

The last preseason game traditionally was a game wherein regulars were rested and wannabees fought for a position.

That was the situation before the NFL increased regular-season games to 17 and reduced pre-season games from four to three. This is the first season in which this is in place.

What that means is that no one is really aware of how clubs will approach this final pre-season game in 2021. It’s all-new territory.

Will it be as in the past that the third game is a dress rehearsal and a game in which you tune up the regulars?

Or will it be just a run-of-the-mill game you use to cut down rosters? No one really knows how this will pan out.

For the New England Patriots at least, if there really is a quarterback competition (that is entirely debatable), then Newton’s absence, even with his Eagles performance, could be significant.

If you miss considerable practice time, in this case, three or maybe four days, you are usually placed on the shelf by Bill Belichick for the upcoming game.

But, again, it may mean nothing to Bill Belichick.

Will New England Patriots Cam Newton lose his starting job over this absence

There are lots of factors here. One thing seemed certain, Newton had seemingly sewn up the top job after a stellar performance against the Eagles. He still seems to have.

The bottom line is abundantly clear, however, the quarterback who Bill Belichick and Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels feel give the New England Patriots the best chance to win, plays.

That was the modus operandi under Belichick when he made the move to bench Drew Bledsoe when he came back after being injured and played Tom Brady.

And that’s the way it will likely be now. The bottom line is winning. Both owner Robert Kraft and Head Coach Bill Belichick have a lot invested in and riding on this season.

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Big free agency spending and what appears to be a really good draft preceded this assemblage of top players. A lot is on the line for all concerned.

The team will surely roll with the quarterback with whom they feel they have the best chance to win. That’s the New England Patriot way. And you can count on it. The call here, Newton starts.