Last the media saw the Patriots on the OTA practice field, Cam Newton was an observer after suffering an injury to his right throwing hand.
As Bill Belichick noted in his morning Zoom call with the local media, that seemingly minor issue would keep Newton from the third New England OTA session of the spring open to the media.
“He's doing all right. He won't participate today but he's getting better," Belichick said. "He's not out there but I think he'll be all right."
So it was no surprise that Newton was not on the field or that his absence would open up opportunities for other quarterbacks.
What was surprising was the guy who seemed to shine the most under sunny skies for the Patriots passing attack – veteran backup Brian Hoyer.
While the Patriots passing game had a bounce-back morning overall following a ugly session a week earlier, that it was Hoyer shining the brightest rather than No. 15 overall pick Mac Jones or third-year backup Jarrett Stidham is less than ideal.
Hoyer pushed the ball down the field with regularity in his opportunities in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work. He clearly made the quickest reads and threw with the most accuracy and precision of the three quarterbacks on the field for the workout.
Jones, the upstart rookie, had a quiet day and seemed to take a backseat in terms of reps to his veteran counterparts. From this perspective, after viewing two OTA sessions, Jones has been a bit underwhelming.
Stidham took the first reps in most drills and segments of practice and didn’t make any egregious mistakes but also didn’t do a lot garner notation. For lack of a better word, he was fine.
One positive sign for the entirety of the offensive players was the elimination of the costly drops from a week earlier. That led to more completions for a unit that was the more vocal and energetic group, something that was true of the defense in the previous media OTA.
Beyond the ongoing focus on every rep, read and throw at the quarterback position the other key note out of Thursday’s Patriots OTA session was that high-priced free agent addition Hunter Henry seemed to injure his left lower leg/foot about midway through the workout. The issue popped up after Henry tumbled to the ground while running a route. He walked off on his own before having the issue looked at by the medical staff and seemingly getting re-taped.
After testing the ailment out, Henry did not take part in the remainder of the workout. Instead he watched the action from the sideline while down on one knee.
It’s worth noting that Henry has never played a full 16 games in the NFL. He’s missed at least two games in each of his last four seasons with the Chargers, missing all of 2018 after a serious offseason knee injury that included a torn ACL.
The next chance reporters will have to potentially see Henry, Newton and the rest o