The New England Patriots got mostly good news Saturday. After another round of coronavirus tests with no new positives, the team opened its practice facility and returned to the field for the first time since Week 4.
That bodes well for the Patriots to take on the Denver Broncos on Monday night. The two teams were initially set to play Sunday, but the NFL moved the game back a day after Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore tested positive for the coronavirus. Gilmore said he was asymptomatic. Quarterback Cam Newton and lineman Bill Murray are also on the team’s COVID-19/reserve list.
As a result of Gilmore’s positive test, the team canceled in-person practices during the week and worked remotely Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. If the Patriots’ Week 5 game goes off as planned, the Patriots will be able to get in two in-person practices before taking on the Broncos.
Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore not at practice
While the game against the Broncos now seems likely, the Patriots may not have two of their biggest stars when they take the field Monday night. Both Gilmore and Newton were not at the practice field Saturday. That’s not necessarily a surprise. Players need to test negative twice on consecutive days, or wait 10 days after their first positive test before before returning to action. Gilmore and Newton haven’t fulfilled that criteria yet.
There are three QBs out here for the #Patriots first practice of this COVID crushed week. None of them are Cam Newton. Stephon Gilmore also remains unseen. Devin McCourty also missing but it's not injury related. @AroundTheNFL @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/zIbBOwY3Gp— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) October 10, 2020
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wasn’t willing to reveal his strategy if Newton is unable to return in time for Week 5. He deflected questions about who would start if Newton was sidelined again, saying the team is taking things “hour by hour.”
Brian Hoyer started the Patriots’ game against the Chiefs last Monday, but he struggled in completing 15 of 24 passes for 130 yards and an interception with a lost fumble. Belichick turned to backup Jarrett Stidham in the second half, and Stidham threw the Patriots’ only touchdown but also two interceptions in a 26-10 loss.
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