The Cam Newton era in New England is over — but why?
The Patriots on Tuesday reportedly released Newton, seemingly confirming rookie Mac Jones will be the team’s starting quarterback in Week 1. The news was somewhat surprising, as Newton was treated like a starter throughout training camp and during preseason games. Plus, New England head coach Bill Belichick spent much of the offseason indicating Newton would keep his job.
However, everything apparently changed last week, when Newton violated COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players, forcing him to miss one joint practice with the New York Giants. That might have made the ultimate difference for Belichick, according to a new report from Jeff Howe of The Athletic.
“Spoke to a couple sources yesterday about the QBs,” Howe tweeted Tuesday morning, “They mentioned the importance Belichick places on joint practices, much more than the preseason games and how the rotation might not be as big of an indicator as we thought. And now, the Patriots are going with Mac Jones. as QB1.”
Jones reportedly was sensational during the joint session that Newton missed. He was more uneven the next day but the 2021 first-round pick nevertheless handled himself well against New York’s defense. He worked with the Patriots first-teamers in key situations, including two-minute drills.
That, along with everything else the Alabama product has done during training camp, apparently convinced Belichick that he’s ready for big time.