If there is a question on who is the starting quarterback heading into New England Patriots camp, Bill Belichick is not going to answer. The Patriots head coach won’t even mention names when it comes to the impending quarterback battle between Cam Newton and Mac Jones, two players who will dominate the headlines in Foxborough this summer.
“Every one of us has to go out and establish our level of performance whatever our role or capacity is,” Belichick said to reporters Tuesday. “It’s a new season. We’ve done some things in the spring, but this is really the start of football season in terms of the team building part here in training camp.
“We all have a lot of work to do. That includes all of us. So we go out and do anything, so it’s pretty much a clean slate.”
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Much ado about nothing regarding who the starting quarterback is entering camp. Newton is expected to be the starting quarterback given his veteran status, but Belichick won’t give any leeway on his depth chart until the first practice. Both Newton and Jones, the first quarterback taken by the team in the first round since Drew Bledsoe in 1993, will compete for first-team reps throughout the preseason.
Of course, Belichick is preaching competition across the board, not just at quarterback.
Another topic the Patriots coach won’t address is Stephon Gilmore and his contract. Gilmore is present at Patriots camp after both sides have not made progress on reaching a new deal, despite the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year wanting a contract extension making him one of the highest paid cornerbacks in the game. Gilmore is entering the final year of his contract and his total cash value of $7.7 million is good for just 26th in the league amongst cornerbacks.
N’Keal Harry also has reportedly asked for a trade. Don’t ask Belichick about that either, as the Patriots prefer to keep that in house.
“Yeah we’re not going to talk publicly about contracts,” Belichick said. “Not going to talk about contracts and personal situations.”