Cam Newton made a costly mistake that may end his career. He is now in danger of losing his job to the backup quarterback, who has already been given more opportunities than he was.
Cam Newton Just Opened the Door for Mac Jones to Steal His Job by Making a Costly Off-Field Mistake.
With both Cam Newton and Mac Jones impressing in the New England Patriots’ 35-0 preseason victory over the Philadelphia Eagles last Thursday, talk regarding Bill Belichick’s strategy for the most important position in sports has continued to swirl.
Will he start the season with Newton as quarterback? Or will he promote the rookie to the starting lineup in Week 1?
Belichick, of course, has the ultimate word on anything football-related that occurs in Foxborough. But, due to his current starter, he may not have as much trouble deciding who deserves to be the starting quarterback. The Patriots could be regarded a genuine danger to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 56 if Jones capitalizes on Newton’s expensive off-field error.
The rivalry between Cam Newton and Mac Jones is still the most interesting narrative in New England.
Newton’s stint as the Patriots’ starting quarterback began when Belichick selected Jones as the 15th player in the 2021 NFL Draft. The 2015 MVP must show he still deserves to be at the top of the depth chart after a season in which he only completed eight touchdown passes. Newton can’t rest on his laurels just because he did well in training camp and the first two preseason games for the Patriots.
After all, he has to contend with a bright prospect who seems to be a natural fit for the Patriots’ explosive passing offense.
Jones isn’t going to blow anybody away in terms of height, weight, or speed, but it’s obvious that the 6-foot-3, 216-pound rookie has the skills to thrive in New England. For someone who entered the organization less than six months ago, the 22-year-old has showed remarkable mastery of the offense. Jones’ accuracy and composure in the pocket have shone out during his first two official outings in an NFL jersey, despite the fact that he has yet to throw a touchdown pass.
Needless to say, Belichick faces a tough choice that will have far-reaching consequences for his squad.
Newton just gave Jones the opportunity to seize his job by making a costly error.
If Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones takes advantage of a chance to play with the first team offense, he may push Bill Belichick to bench Cam Newton. | Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Newton can’t afford any injuries this summer, especially with the team’s top overall selection on his tail.
Unfortunately for the 32-year-old quarterback, his expensive off-field blunder has now allowed Jones to take his place.
Newton will be absent from the team until Thursday, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, owing to a “misunderstanding” over COVID-19 testing performed outside of NFL facilities. The Patriots issued a statement in response to the situation.
“He had daily Covid tests, all of which came back negative. Cam will be subjected to the five-day entrance cadence procedure before returning to the facility due to a misunderstanding regarding testing performed outside of NFL facilities, as mandated by NFL-NFLPA protocols,” the statement said.
With Newton out, Jones has an opportunity to solidify his position as the starting quarterback. Rather than taking a backseat in practice to the veteran, the promising rookie should get the bulk of repetitions with the first-team offense until his teammate returns. Jones may make Belichick reconsider his decision to keep Newton if he takes advantage of the opportunity to work with starting-caliber weapons and a top-notch offensive line.
Given how well the youngster has performed despite mainly working with backups and fringe NFL players, the idea of him throwing to the tight end combination of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, as well as New England’s new wide receiver tandem of Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, is intriguing. Over the next four days, Jones has a great chance to persuade the Patriots that he deserves to replace Newton, and that may alter the course of New England’s season.
Bill Belichick’s greatest chance of victory for the Patriots is to go with a rookie quarterback.
Newton clearly inspires Belichick’s admiration. Perhaps it’s because he realizes he didn’t put the veteran up for success in 2020. After all, anybody who saw New England’s attack last season could tell Newton lacked starting-caliber weapons.
Belichick, on the other hand, made major improvements to a talent-deficient squad by going all-in during free agency.
That is why he must turn the reins over to his rookie quarterback.
Newton may have “upside” as a runner, but he’s not the same athlete he was when he played for the Carolina Panthers. As a passer, he still has inconsistency, and his skill set differs from what the Patriots have done on offense for the last two decades.
Jones, on the other hand, seems to be fluid, confident, and perfectly capable of operating the same system that enabled Tom Brady reach his full potential. He doesn’t have the same top skill players as he had at Alabama, but he does have a good collection of pass-catching options in Henry, Smith, Agholor, Bourne, and Jakobi Meyers. In addition, the Patriots have a tremendously deep group of running backs, as well as a starting offensive line that includes the formidable interior trio of Michael Onwenu, David Andrews, and Shaq Mason, as well as the excellent tackle combination of Isaiah Wynn and Trent Brown.
Jones has a solid supporting cast, an outstanding offensive coordinator, and the best coach in NFL history on his side, even if he doesn’t have a DeVonta Smith-type receiver in New England.
Even though it may be difficult for Bill Belichick to keep Cam Newton on the bench, the Patriots must use their rookie quarterback if they are to maximize their offensive potential.
If Mac Jones achieves his potential, the Lombardi Trophy may return to Foxborough sooner rather than later.
Pro Football Reference provided all statistics.
The Patriots have officially avoided a nightmare scenario, but Bill Belichick must admit defeat on a failed experiment.