For the first time in nearly two decades, the Patriots will hit opening day with a new starter under center. That starter is Cam Newton.
Newton was informed during a team meeting Thursday before practice, a league source confirmed to the Herald. He was also voted one of three offensive captains by his teammates.
Newton outperformed Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer throughout training camp for the right to succeed Tom Brady.
He accomplished a higher percentage of passes in live team periods than Hoyer and recorded half as many interceptions as Stidham, despite throwing double the number of passes.
Newton also adds a new dimension to the Pats’ run game, as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in NFL history.
He will lead the Patriots versus the Dolphins in their Sept. 13 season opener at Gillette Stadium at 1 p.m.
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The former MVP officially joined the Pats in early July after being released from Carolina, where he played the first nine years of his career. Faced with an unusually poor free-agent market, he signed a one-year, prove-it deal. From then on, Newton quickly won over teammates and coaches in Foxboro.
It started with his health. Injuries to Newton’s shoulder and foot prematurely ended his last two seasons and required surgery in Carolina. With the Patriots, Newton opened training camp in perfect health, showcasing a strong arm and dangerous running ability during practices.
Inside the locker room, teammates were drawn to his effervescence.
“Cam has been a joy to be around. He brings positive energy to work every day. He loves his job. He’s just a fun guy to be around,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said recently.
“I’m glad that we’ve gotten a chance to spend some time with him as a teammate and really get to know him.”
Over barely a summer, Newton has proven himself as a unique presence in the long, storied history of the franchise. He is the rare Patriot to become a captain in his first year during the Bill Belichick era. This week, Belichick said no player has worked harder.
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