With offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, left, looking on, New England rookie quarterback Mac Jones practices Thursday in Foxborough, Mass.. With Cam Newton sidelined with a hand injury, Jones and the other quarterbacks are getting a few more reps at practice. Steven Senne/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Cam Newton hasn’t practiced since injuring his throwing hand during voluntary workouts last week. Coach Bill Belichick expects New England’s incumbent starting quarterback to be fine.

Newton was not at Thursday’s workout, the third session open to media.

“He’s doing all right. He won’t participate today, but he’s getting better,” Belichick said before practice.

This is Newton’s first full offseason with the Patriots after signing with them last July. His absence left New England with three quarterbacks – Jarrett Stidham, rookie Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer – for Thursday’s session.

Newton went 7-8 as the starter in 2020 but struggled at times to find consistency after his season was interrupted for two weeks following a COVID-19 diagnosis. He said one of the things he was looking forward to most was getting a full offseason to dive into the playbook.

Despite using the 15th overall draft pick in April to add former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, Belichick said this spring that Newton would enter training camp as the starter. The Patriots are to hold a final voluntary workout Friday before opening a three-day, mandatory minicamp on Monday.

Belichick said some adjustments must be made with Newton currently not participating, but his absence will provide more reps for the remaining quarterbacks.

“(Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels) does a great job of getting everybody prepared,” Belichick said. “That can come in a variety of ways from meetings to walkthroughs to practice reps to how he splits them up in individual drills. There’s a lot of different opportunities and he’s done it very well and continues to do that.”

CHIEFS: The offensive line that the Kansas City Chiefs aggressively overhauled this offseason has taken a hit with a knee injury to veteran Kyle Long during voluntary workouts that could require surgery and keep him out of training camp.

The 32-year-old Long came out of a one-year retirement designed largely to get him healthy to sign a one-year contract with the Chiefs, who completely recast their offensive line after it was decimated by injuries and opt-outs last season. But he failed to make it through three weeks of workouts before another injury sidelined him. The Chiefs begin a three-day mandatory minicamp Tuesday, then are off until reporting to training camp in late July.

Long has spent most of his career at right guard, but he also was a Pro Bowl selection at right tackle, and the Chiefs were keen to see him play both positions. Now, they are looking at former starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif returning from his opt-out to play right guard and veteran Mike Remmers or 2020 draft pick Lucas Niang to play right tackle.

PACKERS: The Green Bay Packers expect to fill Lambeau Field’s entire seating capacity for games this season and also plan to welcome fans to training camp and their annual shareholders meeting this year.

Fans who have been fully vaccinated won’t need to wear masks. Unvaccinated fans will be asked to wear masks. Proof of vaccination won’t be required.

The shareholders meeting is scheduled for July 26 at Lambeau Field. Training camp will start the last week of July, though dates haven’t been set.

 

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