New England Nation on WPRI 12 & WPRI.com

A fresh start in Foxboro: Cam Newton-led Patriots kick off season vs Dolphins

Patriots: New England Nation

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton smiles as he steps on the field at the start of an NFL football training camp practice, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — After an unprecedented offseason, football is finally back in Foxboro.

For the first time in 20 seasons, New England will not see quarterback Tom Brady run out onto the field at Gillette Stadium. Instead, former NFL MVP Cam Newton will be at the helm.

A new quarterback isn’t the only change fans will see this season. Due to COVID-19, no fans will be allowed at Gillette Stadium for the first two home games in September.

The Patriots also have a league-high eight player opt-outs that include OT Marcus Cannon, LB Dont’a Hightower, S Patrick Chung, TE Matt LaCosse, RB Brandon Bolden, FB Dan Vitale, WR Marqise Lee and OG Najee Toran.

The Miami Dolphins return to Foxboro after stealing the first-round bye from the Patriots last season, winning 27-24 in the final week. They’re led by former Patriots coach Brian Flores, and have three former Patriots listed as captains: Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and Ted Karras.

Sunday’s game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and will air live on WPRI 12. Beforehand, be sure to tune into Fox Providence at 11:30 a.m. for 12 Sports’ New England Nation pregame show. Yianni Kourakis, Morey Hershgordon, Rosie Langello and Andy Gresh dissect the matchup and preview the game.

At noon on WPRI.com and WPRI 12 News app, catch New England Nation Game Day Live with Yianni Kourakis. After the game, stick around on WPRI 12 for a complete post-game show, New England Nation: Patriots Wrap at 11:15 p.m.

Below are some notes and quotes from this past week leading up to Sunday’s game:

Notes:

  • The Patriots’ streak of 423 consecutive games starting a quarterback that they drafted will come to an end.
  • The Patriots are 51-1 all-time in the regular season when they have a 100-yard rusher.
  • If the Patriots have a winning record in 2020, they will tie the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL record of 20 consecutive winning seasons.

Quotes:

Bill Belichick on the improvement of a young wide receiver corps: “I think everyone has gotten better as we practiced, you know, the early in August until where we are now in September, but we will see where everyone is, see how that manifests itself against good competition.

“Certainly, Miami is a team that will play a lot of man-to-man coverage, so we will see how we’ll do against that type of coverage system, but with very good players. They have good corners, good safeties and linebackers, a lot of guys that cover well, so we will see how we match up against that. The group we kept, it’s a good group, they deserve to be here, so we will see how it goes.”

Bill Belichick on his 46th season opener: “I think opening day is the same every year. You have questions about your team and what you’re doing. You have questions about your opponent. There’s a lot of unknowns.”

Cam Newton on whether he’s nervous about his Patriots debut: “I don’t get butterflies. I give them.”

Cam Newton on being the first Black Patriots quarterback to start in week 1: “It’s a big deal. It’s a really big deal.”

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