Cam Newton intends to redeem himself but circumstances beyond his control might prevent him from doing so.
Former New England Patriots linebacker-turned-ESPN NFL analyst Rob Ninkovich predicted Wednesday the Patriots quarterback won’t enjoy a bounce-back season because the team’s offense isn’t built to maximize his strengths. Bill Belichick declared Newton the Patriots starting quarterback after they picked Mac Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and the veteran took the snaps alongside New England’s other starters earlier this month in minicamp.
However, Ninkovich wouldn’t be surprised if Jones supplants Newton during his rookie season.
“No I do not (expect a bounce-back season),” Ninkovich said on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “This doesn’t come from hate. I’m looking at this perspective of there’s two types of offenses the Patriots will have to run. One completely different offense with Cam Newton, and the other with Mac Jones.
“The team is built right now to have a typical pro-stlye, quarterback-under-center, run the football, 22 personnel, 23 personnel. They’re going to be better-suited with Mac Jones under center.
“And Cam’s still going to have a big role in this offense. You’re going to see him in the red zone. He’s still going to have a big impact on this team. But he’s not going to be the big breakout guy. It’s going to be Mac Jones.”
Newton told reporters earlier this month he’s no longer in catch-up mode as the 2021 season looms. That initially should give him an edge over Jones in what’s shaping up to be the Patriots’ most-intriguing position battle.
Ninkovich’s insight suggests Newton merely might be keeping the place under center warm for Jones until he’s ready to take over and lead the Patriots into the future.