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PHILADELPHIA — Cam Newton tilted his head, squinted, and smiled an incredulous smile.

Following a spirited practice with the Eagles Monday morning, Newton was asked if Bill Belichick had informed the quarterback that he would be the Week 1 starter.

“No. You know, he hasn’t said that,” said Newton. “So, for you to ask that question, you know, it is what it is. Every day, I’m coming out here with the anticipation to just get better, and that’s the only thing that I can do. So, I can control that. I’m trying to focus on what tomorrow brings.”

Belichick has consistently referred to Newton as his starter, though the coach also said players need to “reestablish their positions” to maintain their status on the depth chart.

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Newton consistently has been first during the quarterback rotations this summer and started last week’s preseason game against Washington. His snaps Monday came with the other projected starters and against Philadelphia’s first-string defense.

He had an up-and-down day against the Eagles, completing 13 of 21 passes with an interception during competitive team drills. He also made some nifty throws during individual sessions.

Newton winces at a question during his media session Monday.
Newton winces at a question during his media session Monday.Matt Rourke/Associated Press

The former MVP has shown better arm strength and accuracy this summer, though he is still guilty of holding the ball a tick too long and likely would have been sacked a few times if not for the red jersey.

“I don’t take it personal,” Newton said of not being officially told he’s atop the depth chart. “I just want you guys to understand: Everything y’all know, I know. There’s no hidden motives or things like that.”

Mac Jones, the club’s first-round pick, has enjoyed a fine training camp, showing consistent improvement as he continues to increase his knowledge of the offense. The rookie is sharp and displays poise in the pocket. He’s a quick thinker with a quick release and an accurate arm.

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Playing mostly against the Eagles’ second-team defense, Jones completed 17 of 25 passes. He looked off and froze defenders several times. He also has shown the ability to bounce back from adversity and poor plays. He showed this against the Eagles, shaking off a bad start to his two-minute drill series by capping the drive with a picture-perfect 20-yard touchdown pass to N’Keal Harry.

Jones chatted with the media for the first time since going 13 of 19 for 89 yards in his pro debut against Washington and acknowledged he got ahead of himself a few times that night.

“I think I could actually slow down a little bit and just take it in and stick to my rules,’’ he said. “I didn’t feel like I was out of place or anything.

“Everybody did a good job of just listening in the huddle and staying on the same page, which is what it’s all about. It takes 11 people, it’s not just me, honestly. They did a great job, and obviously it’ll get better.

“I feel like I left a lot of plays on the field. You have to take it for what it is worth and tell the guys, ‘My bad,’ and keep moving forward.”

Mac Jones was 17-for-25 under center Monday against the Eagles.
Mac Jones was 17-for-25 under center Monday against the Eagles.Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Jones, who wore a brace on his left knee as a protective measure for his lead leg and not because of any injury, was noncommittal when asked if starting Week 1 was a goal of his.

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“For me, honestly, I’ve always been blessed to be part of a team,” he said. “You never know when your time is going to come.

“I’m just ready to keep working. Obviously, I have a lot of work to do. That’s very clear. But I’m going to keep working every day and everything will just work out how it’s supposed to play out.”


Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.