A new era for the New England Patriots’ offense began Tuesday, with the team cutting veteran Cam Newton and installing rookie Mac Jones as its starting quarterback.
Shortly after that blockbuster transaction was reported, two longtime Patriots captains shared their thoughts on New England QB change.
“Cam did his best job for us and competed extremely hard,” running back James White said in a video conference. “Obviously, it’s unfortunate to see him go. But he’s a good football player. I hope he gets another opportunity to land on his feet.”
Newton started 15 games for the Patriots last season, but he could not hold off Jones this summer. The first-round draft pick garnered rave reviews from veteran teammates throughout training camp and showed steady improvement as cutdown day approached.
“You can tell he had what it takes from the first practice with him,” White said of Jones. “He’s constantly learning. Constantly trying to improve. He’s tough on himself, but I think he has high expectations for himself. When he comes into the huddle, he wants to control the huddle and make sure everybody that’s in there with him believes in him.
“He’s building that confidence each and every day, trying to improve each and every day. Because there’s a lot of stuff a quarterback has to do. He’s constantly in the film room. Constantly asking questions, trying to find ways to improve.”
Center David Andrews said Jones has “done a great job.”
“He’s come in and worked really hard,” Andrews said. “He’s obviously done a lot of really good things.”
Newton’s release came as New England trimmed its roster from 80 players to the NFL-mandated 53 ahead of Tuesday afternoon’s deadline. He now will be free to sign with any team while Jones prepares to make his regular-season NFL debut next Sunday against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.
“It’s always a tough day in this business,” Andrews said. “Unfortunately, it’s just part of it.”