Sunday 7: When can Cam Newton return to Patriots following testing positive for COVID-19?

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1. Now that Cam Newton has tested positive for COVID-19, what’s next for the Patriots quarterback? After being placed on the COVID list Saturday, he could be out anywhere between five and 10 days depending on if he’s symptomatic or asymptomatic. If he’s symptomatic, then he can return after 10 days if he goes 72 hours without experiencing symptoms. If he’s asymptomatic, he can return after five days following receiving two straight negative tests at least 24 hours apart. Otherwise, it’s 10 days. Also, his return would need to be approved by the Patriots’ physician after consulting with ICS and NFL’s chief medical officer. This means there’s a chance he will also have to miss next Sunday’s game at home against the Broncos. Obviously, this is assuming he’s healthy enough to play, as there’s no way of knowing how the virus will impact him. Regardless, the Patriots will need to start focusing their offense with either Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham under center for at least the near future.

2. Speaking of Hoyer and Stidham, if the game against the Chiefs is played in Week 4, it makes a lot of sense to start the veteran and not the second-year player. Starting Stidham in Kansas City against the Chiefs and with all the circumstances surrounding the game would not make sense for him to make his first ever NFL start. While Stidham may have more upside than Hoyer, the team has a good idea of what they would get with Hoyer, and that would be a steady, veteran presence, which the team could need if the game is in fact played.

3. One thought when it comes to Newton on the field: How was he treated inside the facility this week by the coaching staff when going over the Raiders tape? Newton was not good in the game and likely deserved criticism from the coaching staff. This likely was the first real time Newton felt some heat from Bill Belichick and Co, this season. This was a major topic when he signed, and ESPN’s Tedy Bruschi even theorized Belichick was praising him so much early on to build him up for moments like this week when he needed to be hard on him.

4. One of the more under appreciated things for the Patriots this season is not committing an offense penalty through the first three games. This is the first time in the Belichick era his team has gone three straight games without an offensive penalty. It is even more impressive given the lack of a preseason and limited training camp sessions.

5. While it’s only been three games, two members of the Patriots secondary who have not got off to good starts are Stephon Gilmore and Jonathan Jones. Gilmore’s season has been well-documented, but Jones is another player who has had some issues in coverage, including last week against Hunter Renfrow. For the defense to be at its best, it needs these two players to pick up their play a bit.

6. The Patriots did not activate Damien Harris or Gunner Olszewski to the active roster on Saturday, but it doesn’t really mean much because they can be activated Monday or Tuesday, if that is when the Patriots take on the Chiefs. If the game is not played, the team can wait until next Saturday, or even later, as it has 21 days from when they first practiced, which was Wednesday. The expectation is both players will be activated to the roster for the next game.

7. While if the New England-Kansas City game is moved to Monday/Tuesday, it would not be ideal for the Patriots from a scheduling perspective, but it would be even worse for Kansas City. If it happens, the Chiefs will have to play three games in a nine or 10-day span. They play host the Raiders next Sunday and then travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills the following Thursday. It’s worth wondering if the NFL would look to move the Thursday game to that Sunday.

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