Earlier this month, Bill Belichick reiterated that Cam Newton would be the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback — a position he held throughout the 2020 season despite the veteran’s struggles. The situation has changed this summer, however, with the arrival of first-round rookie Mac Jones making it less clear who New England’s QB1 would be.
One thing is certain: Jones will start one day. When that day comes remains to be seen, but Belichick also projected a “hard decision.”
So far, however, it seems as if none has been made.
Following Monday’s joint training camp practice with the Philadelphia Eagles, Newton was asked about just this topic and whether or not Belichick had said anything to him. His answers were predictable.
“You know the answer to that question,” he said after a short pause.
After a follow-up, he doubled down.
“Y’all sit up here asking silly questions to me and I’m looking at y’all with the same things. I don’t know what y’all want me to say. No! You know that. You know he hasn’t said that,” Newton added.
“So, for you to just ask the question… it is what it is. Every single day I’m coming out here with the anticipation of just getting better and that’s the only thing that I can do. I can control that, but as far as somebody else’s analogy or interpretation of what Week 1 is — I’m trying to focus on what tomorrow brings or even the adjustments for tonight’s meetings.”
Newton started 15 of the Patriots’ 16 games last year, missing one after testing positive for the Coronavirus. While the circumstances did not favor him — he arrived late, missed time due to Covid-19 and had to play with a sub-par receiving cast — Belichick publicly reaffirmed Newton as his team’s starter on numerous occasions.
He did the same earlier in training camp as well, and Newton has also taken top quarterback reps throughout the summer. However, Jones’ presence and solid performance has created a different dynamic.
It also brought along questions about Newton’s standing on the depth chart.
“I don’t take it personal. I just want you guys to understand, everything y’all know, I know. There’s no hidden motives or things like that. I do know those things like that, I can’t worry about,” the 32-year-old said on Monday.
“Because each and every day, I don’t necessarily care about who’s starting, I mostly care about making sure I put the best product out there for me, and I know Mac is feeling the same way, I know Brian [Hoyer] is feeling the same way, and everybody else going down each and every position. So as far as Week 1, we’ve got so much to worry about prior to Week 1. That’s where my focus is right now.”
As far as Newton’s competition for the starting role is concerned, the same basic answer was given on Monday. When asked if starting would be a personal goal for him, Mac Jones also stated that he would not be worried about it at the moment.
“For me, honestly I’ve always just been blessed to be a part of a team,” the rookie said. “You never know when your time is going to come. So, I’m just ready to keep working. Obviously, I have a lot of work to do. That’s very clear, but I’m going to keep working every day and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to play out.”