New England Patriots

Patriots second open OTA practice in 2021.

Much like the Patriots’ first open OTA practice of 2021, Friday’s session – the second attended by the media this year – has the potential to shift the quarterback narrative heading into training camp.

About halfway through Friday’s practice, as the team was working on positional drills, Cam Newton walked away from the quarterbacks group and over to the Patriots’ training staff. The focus was on Newton’s throwing hand – at one point he appeared to show significant discomfort.

For the remainder of practice, Newton didn’t throw or even pick up a football. He was repeatedly flexing his fingers, and seemed to be looking and feeling around his thumb and index finger. Asked about the condition of Newton’s had after practice, wide receiver Nelson Agholor replied “I’ll let him speak on that.”

Despite being done throwing, Newton stayed on the field for the rest of practice, which featured a good amount of 11-on-11 work. During those drills, Newton stood about 15 yards behind the offensive line, surveying the plays. This stood out, as Bill Belichick spoke last week about the value of mental reps – especially at the quarterback position where snaps are numbered.

“It’s very important for players at every position to learn from the guy who’s taking the reps,” Belichick noted when asked about balancing practice time among four quarterbacks. “So, even though they’re not in there taking it, mentally they can still take it and still go through the process and in the quarterback’s case, is pre-snap keys and real-time timing, rather than watching it on film and that kind of thing, but real-time timing of, ‘Alright, here’s what happens when the ball snapped, here’s what I see, here’s where I go with the ball.'”

Of course, the quarterbacks weren’t the only players on the field on Friday. Here’s some of what stood out regarding the rest of the roster:

More from Patriots practice: 

LISTEN: Bob Socci and Alex Barth share what they saw at Patriots practice with Zolak & Bertrand:

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at