In 2020, not only did they lose Brady, but the pandemic also hit so veteran Cam Newton did not have a regular preseason to adjust to his new role as the Patriots quarterback.
Besides that, the Patriots had so many players opt out due to COVID-19, and then Newton himself contracted COVID-19.
2021 started with an uncharacteristic Patriots free agency frenzy and the team using a first round pick to draft a quarterback for the first time since Drew Bledsoe was drafted in1993.
These circumstances make some wonder who Coach Belichick will name as the Week 1 starting quarterback.
The answer is simple.
Barring an injury or catastrophe leaving him unable to play, Cam Newton will be the Week 1 starting quarterback.
Belichick Already Said Newton Is The Starter
Coach Belichick squashed any rumors or speculation otherwise after Jones was drafted.
“Cam’s our quarterback. Whatever time Jarrett or Mac are ready to challenge and compete, we’ll see how that goes. But right now for Mac, he’s just got a lot of learning in front of him. I know he’s very anxious to get going and get started on it.”
— Craig Kolodny (@NBCBostonCraig) May 27, 2021
Jones Is Not Ready
Belichick is so confident about Newton being the starter because he knows Jones is not ready.
First impression of Mac Jones is he’s definitely small and could bulk up, but he throws a good ball. Cam Newton led all drills with Jones coming in right behind him for most.
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) May 27, 2021
Regarding the decision to draft Jones, Belichick said.
“Mac was available at our pick and he was a guy we spent a lot of time with. Felt like that was the best pick at that time for us. Look forward to working with him. He’s a smart kid. He’s been in a system that’s similar to ours. We’ve had a lot of good conversations with him. I think he’ll be able to process the offense. It’s obviously going to take a lot of time. See how it goes.”
Belichick is not usually this forthright so it must be obvious that Jones needs time to learn the system and work alongside Newton.
A more interesting question is: how long will Newton remain the starter?
To this question, Belichick was coy so he either genuinely does not know or has no interest in sharing his thoughts with the media.
“I don’t know. Somebody will have to play better than he does.”
Our Prediction: Jones Will Play Sometime In 2021
Belichick isn’t saying this, of course.
Practically speaking, Newton is on a one-year deal.
The Patriots need to see what Jones can do at some point in 2021 to figure out if Newton’s future in 2022 is with the Patriots.
Jones is working hard to be ready to shine when his number is called, and his teammates are taking notice.
Kendrick Bourne on Mac Jones: "He has a swag to him that I didn't know that he had."
— Chris Mason (@ByChrisMason) May 27, 2021
Belichick talked about how Jones is acclimating to the Patriots in his usual noncommittal tone.
NEXT: Should Mac Jones Start Over Cam Newton?
“Mac dove into the playbook and continues to do that. Like everybody out there, we all have a lot of things we have to work out and that includes everybody. That’s what he’s doing and that’s what everybody is doing.”