Mac Jones Gets Surprising Demotion at Practice

Getty Bill Belichick

Most of the talk around New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones has been positive during OTAs

The over-arching storyline is still more good than bad, but some fans eager to see Jones overtake Cam Newton or even Jarrett Stidham on the Patriots’ depth chart may have to pump their brakes. The day after Newton suffered a hand injury that some thought might open the door for Jones to overtake him in a race Bill Belichick has never acknowledged, the head coach relegated Jones in the QB rotation at OTAs.

Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal wrote:

If first-round pick Mac Jones thought he was on his way to claiming the QB1 spot with Cam Newton (hand) likely out until training camp, the Head Coach of the New England Patriots predictably had other thoughts on Friday. Jones very much was given rookie reps behind Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer throughout the session. On a normal team, this was somewhat of a surprise given that Jones was the No. 2 for the first practice, and then was the first one up after Newton went down in the last practice. But the Patriots aren’t your normal team. Bill Belichick is going to Belichick and we’ll have some thoughts down below about why the order was what it was.

Jones Reportedly Has a Long Way to Go

Boston Globe’s Ben Volin says Jones “has a long way to go,” which seems accurate at this point in the process.

Jones is trying to soak up as much information as he can, and he isn’t outwardly expressing a desire to supplant any of his fellow signal-callers just yet. Instead, he seems more focused on being helpful while learning the team’s system and culture. 

During a media session on Thursday, Jones was honest and humble as he discussed his current position and mindset in Patriots camp.

There’s four guys total. I’m the rookie, so I’m just learning from them. They’ve all been very nice to me, treated me very well. I’m just trying to help them out the best I can too. Whatever I can do.

Jones’ time will come, but it may not be soon.

Patriots’ Best-Case Scenario

Ideally, Belichick and Co. want to see all four of the team’s quarterbacks perform well in OTAs and training camp. But, even more, New England wants to have all four guys healthy when Week 1 of the regular season rolls around.

If Newton, Jones, Stidham, and Brian Hoyer are healthy after participating in a full training camp, New England will have the depth necessary to tackle the season. If Newton earns the starting job without much question, mainly because he has shown vast improvement, that’s another huge plus.

If Jones and Stidham perform so well that Belichick believes he could turn to either one of them if Newton were to go down with an injury, that’s an even better situation. While many would love to see, Jones take off running from the start, a strong training camp from Newton and all of the quarterbacks is best.


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