Training camp is approaching for the New England Patriots and with it comes a battle for the starting quarterback job between Cam Newton and Mac Jones. While performance will dictate the winner, it seems Bill Belichick does have a preferred choice.
Many were excited when the Patriots drafted Jones with the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, viewing him as the perfect long-term quarterback solution for the Patriots. But amid the growing buzz surrounding the rookie’s performance in minicamp, he may still find himself behind on the depth chart.
NFL insider Jeremy Fowler appeared on ESPN’s "Get Up" Friday, providing an update on where things stand between Newton and Jones before training camp begins.
“Everyone knows the dynamic in New England. Cam Newton is the favorite for the starting job going into training camp, but the team knows that the quarterback play must improve overall from last year. Bill Belichick hopes that Cam Newton can get that done, he’s loved him behind the scenes with his work ethic, he is partial to Cam Newton”
It tracks with reports that have come out of New England the entire offseason. Belichick said Newton was still the Patriots’ starting quarterback right after drafting Jones and he has raved about the veteran quarterback even before New England re-signed Newton.
Understandably, the Patriots are setting the bar much higher for their signal-caller this year. But it’s worth remembering how things unfolded last year. Newton played extremely well through his first three games and then things derailed after he tested positive for COVID-19.
The supporting cast around the Patriots’ quarterback will also be improved significantly. New England spent heavily on tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, adding two playmakers to a quick-passing attack. At wide receiver, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne are also new weapons to help this offense.
Ultimately, it would be a surprise if Newton isn’t starting when the New England Patriots schedule kicks off in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins. He might hold down the job for several weeks, but it won’t be long before Jones gets his shot.