Aug 22, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) is forced out of the pocket by New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

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Platoon in New England? Belichick weighs Newton-Stidham split

The race for the starting quarterback job in New England could turn into a timeshare, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said on Wednesday.

Belichick is keeping his plan for Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham close to the vest as the team looks to replace Tom Brady as the team’s QB1.

Belichick said the start of padded practices is about “giving everybody an opportunity.”

At some point the Patriots could lean toward Newton, who signed a one-year deal, over Stidham. The second-year Auburn quarterback was considered the heir apparent to Brady but early returns — including three interceptions in team workouts Tuesday — are shaky on Stidham.

Could it benefit both players to share reps to start the season?

“It might. I always say I’ll do what I think is best for the team, what gives us the best chance to win,” Belichick said. “Whatever that is, I would definitely consider it — run unbalanced line, double unbalanced line, 23 personnel. Whatever it is, if it helps us win, I would consider anything.”

Newton is drawing rave reviews from teammates. Some current and former Patriots questioned whether a first-year quarterback in the New England system could be ready without the benefit of a full offseason and training camp. Veteran backup Brian Hoyer has the most experience in the Josh McDaniels-designed offense.

“Brian Hoyer’s got the most experience of any of our quarterbacks in our system,” Belichick said Monday in an ESPN Radio interview. “Jarrett Stidham is really coming on here in Year 2. He got a great year last year, in terms of learning and personal and technique development at the position. And Cam has been a late addition, but he’s brought a lot of energy and obviously playing experience to our room. For him, it’s catching up on the specifics of the Patriots’ system, terminology and so forth, which he’s worked extremely hard at. I just haven’t had experience working with Cam, but he works extremely hard. He puts a lot into it, as do Jarrett and Brian.”

–Field Level Media

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