Mac Jones is officially the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots moving forward.
On Tuesday morning, the most shocking cut throughout the entire NFL took place, as quarterback Cam Newton was released by the Patriots, signaling that it is Mac Jones‘ time sooner than many expected. Fans, analysts, and insiders alike were instantly stunned by the release of Newton, who by all accounts was set to be the starting quarterback come Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins.
Yet, there was never any proof to that outside of Newton starting all three preseason games. In the end, this move to make Jones the starter comes down to one thing — being the best option.
Cam Newton’s release from the New England Patriots has more to do with Mac Jones’ play than anything else
Every report out of camp stated that Jones was the better player. He looked better in practice, consistently showed to be ahead of where many believed him to be, and he outplayed Newton in every preseason game.
None of this has to do with Newton outside of being the lesser of two when it comes to the gameplan for the Patriots. Jones was handpicked to take this spot in the 2021 NFL Draft and it’s now his time to do so.
And the reason Newton will not be the backup for the Patriots makes even more sense when looking at it from the outside. Newton’s play style and overall ability demand a completely different playbook and gameplan for the team than Brian Hoyer does behind Jones.
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The rookie doesn’t run and is a pocket passer through and through. If something were to happen to Jones, resulting in Newton having to enter the game, Josh McDaniels and company would have to dramatically change the gameplan. That was never going to happen on a Bill Belichick coached team.
People are pointing fingers at Newton’s fumbling when it came to a COVID-19 issue last week, resulting in him missing multiple days of practice due to NFL rules. That could have been the final straw for Belichick, but the fact remains that Jones was never outperformed by Newton and that matters to Belichick more than anything. He’s rolling with the quarterback that gives him the best chance to win and it’s always been that way.
Look at the preseason if you doubt that Jones played his way into the starting role. In Jones’ first preseason game, he went 13 for 19 for 87 yards. He made minimal mistakes, and showed in his first game action that he can make quick decisions, a key part of the Patriots offense.
In Jones’ second game where Newton did play well, he still managed to deliver big throws. 13 for 19 once again, this time with 145 yards and an overall better presence in the pocket. His final audition to be the starter against the New York Giants was the one that seemingly won him the job. 10 for 14 with 156 yards and a touchdown.
Taking into account that most of his throws were with the second unit of the offense should only enhance that much more as to why it is time for Jones. The future is now for the New England Patriots as Belichick puts all his hopes for this season into Jones.
Newton did what he could and filled an awfully difficult void last season for the team. But once Jones was drafted, Newton was on borrowed time. Once Jones came in and showed he can do all the necessary things right, it furthered the process.
It’s time for Jones in New England as the Newton era is officially over.