The New England Patriots might have a minor quarterback controversy on their hands for the second consecutive offseason, as the buzz surrounding 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones has left fans speculating whether he could make a push for the starting job.
As intriguing as that sounds, it’s more likely that Jones enters his rookie year as the backup.
However, he could get some playing time earlier than expected if Cam Newton, whom the Patriots re-signed to a one-year deal this offseason, continues to underwhelm.
It remains to be seen if New England wants Jones to redshirt as a rookie — meaning, he’ll be wearing a headset and holding a clipboard from the bench the entire season — or if they’ll eventually start him later in the season once he’s more acclimated to the playbook.
Whatever the case, Jones has done nothing but impress this offseason and he continued to receive rave reviews from the Pats’ coaching staff.
On Thursday, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels gloated about the Alabama product’s ball security and the swift fashion in which he’s learning the system.
Patriots fans will love Josh McDaniels’ quote about Mac Jones.
For any fans who found themselves drooling after reading that snippet, let’s see how you feel after reading McDaniels’ full quote about Jones.
“Mac, he’s won a lot of games in the last year-plus at Alabama,” McDaniels told reporters via conference call. “He’s played in some big games, some pressure situations. He takes care of the football. He has demonstrated an ability to function at a pretty high level in their system (at Alabama) and their offense with their terminology.
“He competed in a league that’s — I would say — widely regarded as one of the top conferences, if not the top conference, in all of college football.
“To play the position of quarterback, there’s certainly not just one thing you need to do well. He certainly stood out in certain obvious ways, relative to throwing the football, command, protecting the football and not hurting his football team.”
If there’s anything fans in Foxborough should take away from McDaniels’ comments, it’s that Jones is going to make Newton earn the starting job. Not that the Patriots’ coaching staff would hand that privilege to the former MVP on a silver platter (he had to beat out Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer in training camp last year), but you get the point.
The last thing we want to do is get Patriots fans hopes up that Jones could be the starting quarterback in Week 1. Again, the more likely scenario is that the 22-year-old is eased in before he’s ultimately handed the keys of the offense as the coaching staff sees fit.
However, based on all the reports coming out of OTAs and rookie minicamp, you’d be hard-pressed not to buy into the hype. As Jones proved in his first year as Alabama’s starter last campaign, he’s the ultimate competitor and won’t back down to anyone.
While that might not end up in Jones beating out Cam for the starting gig in 2021, it bodes incredibly well for his long-term future and when he’s ultimately named the starter.