Bill Belichick is known for playing his cards close to his chest, and that’s certainly true for the quarterback situation in New England.
Sources told ESPN that both Cam Newton and rookie Mac Jones will play in Thursday’s preseason kickoff against the Washington Football Team, with the veteran expected to start the game.
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Belichick said earlier this week that joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles would factor into his decision.
“We’ll do what’s best for this game and then kind of go from there,” he said, via ESPN. “The joint practice days, they count for something.”
After drafting the Alabama standout with the 15th overall pick, Belichick reaffirmed his commitment to Newton, who signed another one-year contract in March despite his lackluster performance in 2020.
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“Cam’s our quarterback. Whatever time Jarrett [Stidham] or Mac are ready to challenge and compete, we’ll see how that goes,” he said at the time. “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.”
Jones has since received rave reviews from those within the organization and with Stidham out following back surgery, Belichick’s decision remains a challenging one.
Newton totaled 2,657 passing yards for just eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season. He also ran for 592 yards and 12 touchdowns but struggled to get to the playoffs as the Patriots finished 7-9.
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Belichick told reporters at the start of training camp that everyone, including those “starters,” will have to “reestablish their positions.”
“Yeah, that’s right everyone does start from scratch,” he said, via ProFootballTalk. “Again, we all have to reestablish ourselves and that goes for a lot of other players that you could name as well that I’m sure in your mind you think they are starters, and maybe they are starters and they probably will be starters, but they all have to re-establish their positions. That’s across the board for the whole team. That doesn’t just pertain to one person or position.”