In a surprise roster move by head coach Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots released former MVP and 2020 starter QB Cam Newton, leaving Mac Jones as the Week 1 starter. Cam Newton seemed positioned to remain the starter for the Patriots, but he might have hurt himself in the competition with several big mistakes on and off the field.
OC Josh McDaniels has opened up on the explanation behind naming Mac Jones as their QB1. NFL Network’s Michael Giardi reported the following on Twitter:
OC Josh McDaniels cited the progress and improvement throughout training camp as a strength for Mac Jones. As a rookie, Jones is able to pinpoint where he has made a mistake and improves to move past it mentally and to not make the same mistake. Everything McDaniels highlighted can be backed up by watching Mac Jones play in the preseason. He was neck-and-neck with Cam Newton until the very end.
Hall of Famer coach Bill Cowher backs Mac Jones
Belichick and McDaniels are not the only ones excited about Mac Jones being the starter. Former MVP Boomer Esiason and Hall of Fame coach Bill Cowher both believe Mac was the right choice and will thrive with the stacked roster around him.
“[Bill Belichick’s] not afraid to play the best player regardless of their experience. Then you look at Josh McDaniels and his history at developing quarterbacks. This is a veteran offense with a good offensive line, a good core of runningbacks and they went out and got some tight ends and skill players this year,” Bill Cowher said.
Boomer Esiason boasted Jones’ accuracy and leadership and thinks he can give the New England Patriots 10 wins in 2021. Cowher spoke on McDaniels’ ability to develop QBs and he has a decent track record: Tom Brady, Matt Cassel in his early years, Kyle Orton with the Denver Broncos, Ryan Mallett (went from Patriots’ backup to starter for Houston Texans), Jimmy Garoppolo (went from Patriots’ backup to getting a five-year, $137.5 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers), and Jacoby Brissett (went from Patriots’ backup to decent starter for the Indianapolis Colts).
We haven’t seen Mac Jones in a regular-season game yet against a starting defense in a game that matters, but he should have a stretch during the season with consecutive wins and efficient performances. One of the clear advantages Mac Jones had over Cam Newton is that Mac’s ceiling is much higher than Cam’s, which was his MVP season over five years ago.