The New England Patriots wisely let the draft board unfold without making any rash decisions about trading up several picks to select a quarterback.
Everybody knows Justin Fields would’ve been the dream pick, but there’s something to be said that the Patriots were able to stay put at No. 15 overall and nab Mac Jones, whom they were heavily linked to over the last few months leading up to draft night.
Unlike some quarterbacks in this year’s class, Jones is said to be capable of starting from the get-go as a rookie.
However, the Patriots re-signed Cam Newton to a one-year deal in free agency to presumably be their starter for one more season.
Well, it didn’t take long for a prominent theme from last campaign to resurface. During the post first-round press conference, head coach Bill Belichick was asked to clarify comments he made about Newton being the starter.
In typical Belichick fashion, he offered up a classic response about the situation.
Bill Belichick had a classic response to the Patriots’ quarterback situation.
“Cam’s our quarterback,” Belichick told reporters. “Mac is a guy we spent a lot of time with. He’s a smart kid. He’s been in a system that is similar to ours. Whatever time Jarrett or Mac are ready to challenge and compete we’ll see how that goes. Right now, for Mac, he’s just got a lot of learning in front of him.”
Newton’s struggles from last season are well-documented, as he ranked in the bottom half of the league in passing yards (2,657), yards per attempt (7.2), passer rating (82.9) passing touchdowns (eight), and QBR (47.0)
However, as we’ve noted on countless occasions over the last several months, there were extenuating circumstances that contributed to his shortcomings — like testing positive for COVID-19, signing late in the offseason, and lackluster surrounding talent at skill positions.
Despite those struggles, Belichick never lost faith in Newton and continued to roll with him as the starter when numerous fans were calling for his job. Given the 31-year-old star’s leadership intangibles and experience in the Patriots’ system, Belichick will presumably stick with Newton until his play warrants being benched or if Jones looks unstoppable in practice (or both).
It remains to be seen when this will happen, but there will come a time — perhaps next offseason — when the Patriots begin molding their first-round pick. Whatever the case, Belichick’s response proves that Jones will have to be extraordinary during the preseason for him not to be wearing a headset and holding a clipboard as a rookie.
Either way, this likely won’t be the last time you hear Belichick utter the phrase “Cam is our quarterback” over the next few months.