A quarterback battle in New England? We have become so conditioned to the idea that Tom Brady was New England’s QB for 20 years that a QB battle didn’t seem possible. With Brady obviously gone and Cam Newton versus rookie Mac Jones upon us, there’s plenty to unpack here.
Cam Newton was the starter for the Patriots last season and there were some red flags raised. Fast forward to this season, New England drafts Mac Jones in the first round out of Alabama. This move was definitely made to prep for a QB change should Newton not perform well.
With the first preseason game out of the way, we saw both Newton and Jones play. However, Newton was the clear starter for the first game. Jones entered the game after Newton played two full series. Jones saw two full quarters of action and did fairly well. So with all of that information, who should New England go with? Cam Newton the veteran or Mac Jones the rookie? Let’s check it out.
Cam Newton Should Start
There is no doubt about it that Cam Newton knows what it takes to be a starting QB. Newton had a “decent” first year in New England throwing for 2,657 yards and eight touchdowns. Was that stat line enough? Absolutely not considering the Patriots missed the playoffs and did not win the AFC East for the first time since 2008.
However, Cam Newton has the veteran experience that Mac Jones obviously does not have. That experience I feel goes a long way with Bill Belichick. Cam knows the offense well by now and that has to be taken into account here. While Cam’s offensive scheme tends to have more run plays, Cam still knows how to lead this team. Belichick has taken the veteran route before when he decided to start Drew Bledsoe despite rookie Tom Brady having a much better training camp.
Should that be the case with Newton and Jones? Only time will tell but Newton has starting experience that should be enough to start him week one.
Mac Jones Should Start
The reality here is that Mac Jones’ play style is more similar to Tom Brady than Cam Newton’s. While that might sound obvious, Jones plays to move the ball down the field in quick 5-10 yard throws, much like Brady. Jones went 13-19 for 87 yards in his preseason debut in his 33 snaps of action.
Unfortunately for Jones, Belichick will not hesitate to start the experienced QB over a rookie. However, Jones I think is in a better spot to start over Newton than Brady was with Bledsoe.
Jones has plenty of time to improve before week one and based on his performances in camp, Jones knows how to improve immediately. If Jones can take his mistakes and turn them into bigger performances, he has the ability to start.
The only path here for Jones to be the week one starter is for him to show that his playstyle is enough to win games and take the Patriots to the playoffs. Mac Jones has a low ceiling right now but if New England is willing to tweak him into a full-time starter, he will be starting week one.
Final Verdict: Cam Newton Will Start
While everyone in New England wants Mac Jones to be starting week one, I don’t think he will be starting. Belichick values seniority far too much and until he is 100 percent certain Mac Jones can be the starter, Newton is their guy. Does Cam Newton have tons of pressure on him to perform? Absolutely, but Newton knows that a job is on the line and he will perform well.
However, should Newton start to decline, Patriots fans can rest easy knowing a fully prepared Mac Jones will step in. Until then, Cam Newton will be under center to start the game in the foreseeable future.
For more NFL content, make sure to visit the NFL section of our website!