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With Jarrett Stidham injured, Cam Newton may already have won Patriots' quarterback derby

The New England Patriots' QB battle might be over before it really started.
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Earlier this week, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he wouldn't be opposed to platooning quarterbacks Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham this season. Well, Belichick didn't really say that because he never says anything specific, but when asked if he'd consider it, the six-time Super Bowl winner said he would consider anything that was best for the team. Both Newton and Stidham have been sharing first-team reps in camp, but the QB battle might be over amidst reports that Stidham is dealing with a hip issue.

Stidham went for precautionary tests on that hip at Massachusetts General Hospital on Thursday and whatever tests came back negative. The second-year QB was at Friday's practice but spent the majority of the walkthrough on the sideline, didn't take any on-field reps and appeared to be moving "gingerly" according to the Boston Globe.

Perhaps that injury helps explain why Stidham was picked off six times between Tuesday's and Thursday's practices. On Friday, Michael Giardi of NFL Media tweeted that: "It will be several weeks before he's back to 100%."

If that report is true, it's all but a lock that Newton – sorry, Brian Hoyer – will be the starter Week 1 vs. Miami. Performance-wise, Newton hadn't really separated from Stidham, but the 2015 NFL MVP also is learning a new offense and teammates as a free-agent addition so an inconsistent camp could be expected. Newton is now a +450 third-favorite at William Hill sportsbook to win Comeback Player of the Year. 

Pats players are off Saturday with the next practice Sunday. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said after Friday's practice that he expects Stidham will "be ready to roll" for Sunday.

New England is currently -6.5 for the opener vs. the Dolphins, but Newton is on a personal eight-game losing streak from his Carolina Panthers starting days, covering the spread in just one of those. 

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SportsLine Staff

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