Ideal Clip

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In the New England quarterback competition, incumbent starter Cam Newton hopes to hold off rookie Mac Jones. As explained by Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston, one key factor for Newton will be his ability to make quicker decisions while running the offense.

Curran asked Newton on Friday a simple and direct question regarding the speed with which the plays are developing: “What’s taking so long?”

“That’s what training camp’s all about,” Newton said. “Of course, we have this mental in our head that, in the classroom or when we’re meeting, coach asks a question — boom, that’s where we’re supposed to go with the ball. [On the field it’s like], ‘OK, now you’ve got Devin McCourty showing something. Kyle Dugger’s showing something. Then all of a sudden, [Dont’a] Hightower jumps over here and all of a sudden, it’s like, ‘What do I do? What do I do? What do I do? It’ just taking the brain a little longer at times. But hopefully with a lot of repetitions, it’ll be good.”

Per Curran, Jones seems to be operating the offense with the desired rhythm. Curran has a different view of Newton’s opportunities.

“He’s had some positively ponderous reps where he’s held the ball well past five seconds,” Curran writes. “It’s actually uncomfortable to watch as he stands in the pocket, pats the ball, scans, rescans and then throws. Often, those interminable drops have resulted in incompletions or — in the case of a throw on Day One — a throw delivered late, hot and uncatchable that turns into an interception.”

There’s still a long way to go. The Patriots haven’t even put on pads yet. Newton, who clearly has a more expansive skill set than the rookie, is preaching patience.

That’s fine, but it’s unclear how much patience the Patriots will have with Newton. Coach Bill Belichick will go with the guy who gives the team the best chance to win games, with an eye (whether he admits it or not) on Week Four, when Tom Brady returns to town. The player who best runs the offense presumably will be viewed as the one who gives the team the best chance to win.