Skip Bayless doesn’t expect Bill Belichick to waste any time with regards to the New England Patriots’ quarterback competition.
Although Belichick said after selecting Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft that Cam Newton remained New England’s starting QB, it sure seems now like momentum is building toward the rookie leapfrogging the veteran on the depth chart sooner rather than later.
Could Jones actually start Week 1 of the regular season? Bayless thinks so.
“In the end, I believe Bill Belichick will go with your guy, Mac Jones, because Cam has never quite been his flavor, however you want to say it. It’s not his cup of Gatorade,” Bayless said Thursday on FS1’s “Undisputed” while discussing New England’s QB battle with Shannon Sharpe. “It’s Cam Newton, who Bill had to reach for in a little bit of desperation because he got caught, he didn’t have an answer to Tom Brady the first year. This time, obviously in the draft, Mac fell in his lap. It wasn’t at the top of the draft. But as he slowly fell down, at (No.) 15 he was right there, and all of a sudden, he’s got his quote-unquote Tom Brady. It wasn’t a sixth-rounder, but it was a guy who was a little off the top-of-the-draft radar.”
Jones was solid in his preseason debut and likely will need to continue to perform at a high level for Belichick to feel comfortable handing him the keys to New England’s offense. The 22-year-old’s next chance to make a strong impression comes Thursday night, when the Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason game Bayless thinks will be “huge” for both quarterbacks.
Newton made waves last week when he dropped a cryptic post on Instagram about “loyalty” after the Patriots’ preseason win over the Washington Football Team. He later denied it had anything to do with football, but he also revealed Belichick hasn’t told him specifically he’s the Week 1 starter. So, maybe Bayless isn’t too far off with his relatively bold prediction.
“I think somebody will bring this to (Belichick’s) attention,” Bayless said of the IG post, “and he will not love it, and he will say, ‘That post is why I’m not completely sold on Cam Newton, because I’m not sure he’s completely sold on the way we do business here. We don’t bare our souls on social (media) every other day.’ “
Newton probably deserves a chance to show last season’s underperformance stemmed largely from the unique situation, which involved an unprecedented offseason, a battle with COVID-19 and a dearth of offensive weapons around him. Still, the leash likely won’t be long if Newton struggles.
“What would satisfy the ego of Bill Belichick the greatest? It would be to take Mac Jones and get him ready for the fourth game of the year and to beat Tom Brady with Mac Jones,” Bayless said. “You don’t think that would do wonders for Belichick’s battered ego?”