In a move many have been speculating for weeks, the Patriots make it official as they cut Cam Newton and name Mac Jones as the starter for week one. Time to see if the Alabama rookie can live up to the early hype.
Worthy of the Hype?
The “Mac Jones” takeover talk reached all time highs when Cam Newton was forced to enter COVID protocols following a testing mishap, which meant he could not participate in practice nor even be at the team facility for five days. This absence provided Bill Belichick and the Patriots an opportunity to get a feel for life without Cam Newton, and apparently they liked what they saw.
From @NFLTotalAccess: The #Patriots are dealing with a best-case scenario, as QB Mac Jones exceeded their expectations. Now he’s the starter. pic.twitter.com/OsBL65U7T5
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 31, 2021
Jones has looked good during his playing time throughout the preseason, showing an ability to command and control the Patriots offense. The fact that the team released Newton is further evidence of their confidence level in the rookie. Jones will have the benefit of a much better supporting cast surrounding him compared to what Cam had to work with the year prior, and fan expectations will likely be for the Patriots to contend with the Bills for the AFC East title.
Is Jones Best QB From 2021 Draft?
It’s obviously way, WAY too early to be able to get a serious read on how the QBs drafted this year will ultimately stack up when compared to one another, but Mac Jones seems to have the early lead. And if this sort of thing means anything to you, he was the highest graded offensive rookie according to PFF:
Highest-graded rookies this preseason:
🇺🇸 Mac Jones
🐎 Kwity Paye pic.twitter.com/sqXKL2xMor
— PFF (@PFF) August 31, 2021
Of the 5 rookie QBs drafted in the first round, 4 are on pace to be day one starters, leaving the Bear’s Justin Fields as the only one not expected to start. Of the 4 that will be starting, Lawrence and Jones have established themselves so much so that their teams each got rid of the presumptive backup on the depth chart. Pressure is on to say the least, as Patriots fans are unlikely to settle for mediocrity.