Bill Belichick on Cam Newton: We’ve got a very competitive competition

Cam Newton is the favorite to win the Patriots’ starting quarterback job, but the Patriots are not ready to name him their starting quarterback.

Jarrett Stidham, who is dealing with a hip injury, and Brian Hoyer remain in the competition.

Newton, though, is the most accomplished of the trio with a league MVP award and a Super Bowl start. If he doesn’t start Week One, it will come as a surprise.

“He’s an extremely hard-working player,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said on the Rich Eisen Show on Monday. “First-guy in, last-one out type of guy. He’s really studied hard and has spent a lot of extra time trying to learn our offense, our communication, our calls, nomenclature and so forth. I’ve been very impressed with that. He’s done a good job of picking it up. He’s a very skilled athlete. We’re just working through it day by day. We have a long way to go.

“We’ve got a very competitive competition at a very competitive position at the quarterback spot. It will be interesting to see how everybody does.”

Belichick said “he was available” when asked why the Patriots signed Newton.

Newton, 31, spent nine seasons in Carolina before the Panthers released him March 24. He remained on the open market until agreeing to terms on a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the Patriots on June 28.

“We wanted to add competition,” Belichick said. “We always try to add competition to our team, and we felt like we’d be able to do that. He was very open to talking about and working with our situation. We were able to work things out. We’ll just take it day by day and see how it goes. I’m glad we have him.

“It’s been fun to work with him. He’s a very talented player with a unique skillset. Again, we’ll see where it all goes, but he’s got a lot to work with.”