There wasn’t much of a quarterback battle in New England for two decades when Tom Brady was the starter year in and year out. But heading into the 2021 NFL season, the Patriots now have a difficult decision to make.
Training camp at Gillette Stadium starts Wednesday, and Cam Newton must prove he still is effective and worthy of being the starting signal-caller. But with Mac Jones in town, many eyes, including those from ESPN’s Louis Riddick, turn toward the rookie when discussing who will be the Patriots’ starting QB.
“Just common sense leads you to believe Cam will be much better. I do believe, though — look, there’s a reason why (Patriots head coach) Bill (Belichick) sat and waited for Mac Jones,” Riddick said Monday on ESPN. “I think all the things that make Mac who he is have been things already put on display in the short time that he’s been up there. Now, from a physical standpoint, when the volume becomes even heavier and it becomes 11-on-11 and he starts playing some preseason games, can he take the next step? Does he give this football team the best chance to score points, protect the football, not be the reason they lose games, but contribute to the reasons why they win games. If he does that, he will be the starter Week 1 — if Bill feels as though that’s the case.
“For me, it’s just a matter of time. It’s a matter of time before they put him in there. I’d like to see it even before they play Tampa Bay. I think that would be a huge story for the rookie to be starting in that game.”
Jones showed his potential when he led Alabama to a national championship and was the recipient of the Manning Award, given annually to the nation’s top college quarterback. But as the days start winding down to Week 4, when the Patriots host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Foxboro, will the rookie be able to handle the pressure of playing against Tom Brady and Co?