The New England Patriots settled one of their roster concerns with an unexpected decision.
Cam Newton and Mac Jones fought for the starting quarterback role throughout training camp and the preseason.
As always, the job goes to the person who deserves it the most.
Jones performed better at practice and during the tune-up games.
However, no one expected Newton’s release from New England.
It would have been nice to have him around and be the person who could answer Jones’ football-related questions.
— NFL (@NFL) August 31, 2021
Now, Brian Hoyer will be the veteran backup to guide the rookie throughout the season.
The Patriots are hoping that Hoyer won’t see the field during their 2021 campaign.
If he does, it’s a sign that their gamble isn’t paying off initially.
There’s a danger of that happening because Jones dazzled during meaningless preseason games.
The regular season is a different beast, especially how defenses give rookie quarterbacks a warm “welcome.”
Jones can still struggle when dealing with complex formations that mask their true intentions.
Regardless of the outcome, it’s evident that the Patriots are already gearing for the future.
They’re going with the quarterback who can run their offense as designed.
— The Camera Guys (@NBCSCameraGuys) August 31, 2021
Newton is a talented player but is not the perfect fit for New England’s system.
Still, he must get commendation for leading last year’s team to a respectable 7-9 record.
As for Jones, growing pains will be part of his NFL journey.
But the Patriots are putting faith in someone they can train into a better player.
With Newton, what you see is what you get.
On the contrary, Jones’ upside is tantalizing.
The Blunder That Started An Era
Even throughout the preseason, Newton still had a flimsy advantage over Jones for the starting role.
But his actions against the league’s COVID-19 protocols gave the Patriots more time to see how the team looks like with Jones leading the way.
Newton got clearance for a medical procedure outside the New England area, granted that he would undergo daily testing for the virus.
He did undergo those tests, but in facilities that are unaccredited by the NFL.
As a result, Newton had to distance himself from the Patriots and their facilities for five days.
During that stretch, he was still attending online meetings.
Cam Newton’s reaction to being released today: pic.twitter.com/8TiAtDF51S
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 31, 2021
But sources within the team revealed that this incident planted distrust on Newton within the front office.
Mix that sentiment with Jones’ strong preseason, and it would be foolish to admit that Newton would still be the starter.
The former Alabama standout showed a strong command of the offense that allowed him to compile 36 completions for 389 passing yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions.
Yet if the Patriots were to be Jones’ team, having Newton as the backup could create an odd dynamic given the latter’s relationships with the other players.
That left them with no other option but to let Newton walk away.
Cam opened the door and Mac Jones walked right through it. This is why veterans QBs, like Brady, Manning, and Brees, never let their backups get real reps.
Houston is the logical landing spot to me for Cam Newton. pic.twitter.com/9SNk5svcTi
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) August 31, 2021
The locker room may show a divide after this shocking decision.
It will be short-lived, though, because all of them are impartial to winning.
With how the summer unfolded, it’s clear that Jones is their best chance in racking up victories.
Despite being a rookie, he can activate the weapons that the Patriots signed during the offseason.