Attention: Mac Jones diehards and hardcore Cam Newton haters, the New England Patriots rookie quarterback isn’t likely to be close to ready to lead a team with postseason aspirations in Week 1 of the 2021 season.
These sentiments are coming from multiple sources and even from Jones himself. So while it may pain the hearts of some to see Newton back under center for the Patriots in 2021, it is what’s for dinner. We might also add, it’s possible the meal could be much tastier than the naysayers expect.
The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin offered an honest assessment of Jones’ current status as he tries to navigate the transition from college to the NFL.
Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable for Jones to be behind the other quarterbacks in terms of knowledge of the offense and overall football development. He has been here for only a month. But don’t hold your breath waiting for him to be the starting quarterback early in the season. Jones is a quarterback who excels with his mind, not his physical attributes. He doesn’t have a rocket of an arm like Patrick Mahomes, or blazing speed like Lamar Jackson, or a combination of both like Josh Allen. It’s going to take Jones some time to, as he said, “learn how to be a good Patriot.” Jones has the talent, or the Patriots wouldn’t have drafted him 15th overall. But Newton is still the man, and Jones has a long way to go to catch up even to Hoyer and Stidham.
To Jones’ credit, he’s been honest and humble about his struggles early on.
Mac Jones Doesn’t Sound Ready to Start
During his media session on Thursday, Jones referred to two buckets. One is for what he does well and has a good grasp of, and the other is for the things he’s still struggling with mastering.
He offered this transparent look into his mind.
There’s a lot going on in my brain. You’re trying to see everything; sometimes you see too much or whatever, and then you see nothing. I have to figure out in this offense how I can break down the plays, what’s my job, what I have to do on this specific play and slot the plays individually. I did that obviously good in college or whatever, but this is the pros and I have to figure out how to do it here. So that’s what I’m going to do.
You can see the entire media session below:
On-Track for a Big Role in 2022
On the bright side of things, this is all likely going according to plan for the Patriots. It has never appeared that Bill Belichick had any plans on Jones playing a significant role for the team in 2021.
That’s the reason he re-signed Newton, maintained Jarrett Stidham’s services, and re-signed Brian Hoyer, who is likely to serve as Jones’ primary mentor.
Newton is supposed to be the man again, and he should be vastly improved from his 2020 performance. With a better roster around him, the entire team should be better. Newton’s contract is up at the end of the upcoming season, and at that point, I’d expect Jones to step into the role as the starter.
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