One week after releasing Cam Newton and elevating rookie Mac Jones to the role of New England Patriots starting quarterback, head coach Bill Belichick shared his first detailed comments about Newton’s departure.
Belichick did not mention Newton’s name in his initial remarks about the Patriots’ QB decision. But during a Tuesday morning appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” he applauded the veteran signal-caller for his hard work.
“It’s always difficult when you have to reduce your roster,” Belichick said. “(There are) a lot of guys that worked hard, a lot of guys that performed well and had either good years for us or good careers. I respect all those things, but each year is its own year, and I have to do what I feel like is best for the football team. So in regard to every decision, that’s what I try to do. It’s always tough to tell guys who have worked hard and have given you all they had that you’re not able to keep them.
“I have nothing but positive thoughts and feelings for Cam. He came in here, he worked hard. He gave us everything he had. Right now, our future is going to be Mac at quarterback, and that is where we’re going to go.”
After Jones won the Week 1 starting job, the Patriots opted to release Newton rather than use him as the rookie’s primary backup. Journeyman Brian Hoyer, who currently is on the practice squad, is expected to fill that role to open the season.
Belichick was asked whether he considered keeping Newton — New England’s primary starter in 2020 — on the roster as Jones’ understudy.
“Yeah, there’s always options and a lot of different things that you give, especially this time of year with so many players available before they all hit the practice squad,” the coach said on WEEI. “But, yeah, in the end, we did what we felt was best.”
Jones will make his first NFL start this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.