Okay everyone, let’s all get in a circle around the Trust Tree, because there’s an undeniable truth that needs to be acknowledged. I know it, you know it, Cam Newton knows it, Mac Jones knows it, but it’s time we said it out loud. Ready? Cam Newton is going to be your Week 1 starter. ***GASP*** And guess what? That decision was never really up for grabs if we’re being honest.
Let me speak to you now, not as Mike the Patriots contributor from Couch Guy Sports (who also has a podcast, Tuck Rule Takes, with Liam McDaid every week), but as Mike the diehard Patriots fan. Listen guys, did you really think Mac Jones was going to supplant Newton as the Week 1 starter? Let’s look at this logically.
Free Agents Wanted To Play With Cam
When Bill Belichick took Robert Kraft’s black card and went on his historic spending spree, he did so with the notion that Cam Newton would be his starter. And that’s the situation he asked said free agents to come be a part of. Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith have all said, at one point this offseason, how excited they were to play with Cam. You think he wasn’t a draw for some of these guys? It’d be a twisted little bait-and-switch if Belichick was just like “Oh you thought you were going to play with Cam? GOTCHYA! Here’s a rookie!”
If you sold free agents on coming and playing with Cam, you have to pay that off. Even if it only lasts a few weeks, you need to stay the course. Pulling Cam now would cause a fracture in Belichick’s relationship with his team. Which leads me into my next point…
Belichick Would Lose Trust From His Team
Now let’s just say Bill yanks Cam in favor of the rookie. What message does that send to the team who are seemingly all fully behind Newton? Mac has certainly gotten closer in Cam’s rear view, but the former MVP has done nothing to lose his job. Players have been praising both guys, but it’s clear they still think Cam should start. If Belichick decided to go with Mac at this point, that would force every Patriots player into a state of paranoia. They’d be constantly looking over their shoulder because, guess what, even if you haven’t done anything to lose your job, it still may end up getting taken from you. That’s not fair.
Mac has had a very good preseason, that’s not up for debate. But so has Cam. In fact, word out of Foxboro is that he’s improved exponentially from last season and has a better grasp on the playbook. Speaking of playbook…
Mac Still Has A Lot To Learn
This is the most important point in my eyes. It’s easy to forget this, but Mac Jones is still a rookie. I know he looks pretty comfortable under center, but he still has a ways to go in terms of learning this offense. He’s said so himself almost every time he’s been in front of a mic. Unlike almost every other team who is looking for their QB of the future, the Patriots don’t have to rush anything. Cam Newton has the confidence of the team and his coaches. He is more than capable to man the ship until Mac Jones forces him out or he forces himself out.
We’ve seen player after player comment on just how intricate this McDaniels system is. And while Mac Jones is clearly progressing nicely, I think it’s okay to give him as much time as possible to get his PhD in the Patriots Offense.
Once He’s In, Ya Can’t Take Him Out
We’ve seen plenty of teams make this crucial mistake when nurturing their QB of the future. They throw him in the deep end before he fully knows how to swim, and his career drowns. Belichick knows not to do this. Once you put Mac Jones in, you can’t take him out. That’ll shatter the kids confidence and start his career off like a bruised peach. This isn’t a decision you make lightly. Let Jones learn and develop as much as he can before you hand over the keys. If Cam’s season nose dives and you’re forced to thrust him in? So be it. But let’s just hope Jones matures so much during the season that he outshines Cam.
Otherwise, it’s okay to wait until next season. Because if Cam Newton starts every game for the Patriots, that’s a GOOD thing people! That means he’s doing well enough for Belichick to keep the chain tightened on the rookie before setting him lose on the NFL world in 2022. And if Cam falters? Then the decision gets made for you, which isn’t the worst thing. But wait as long as you can before making such a franchise altering decision.
Cam Has Had More Time With The 1’s
Self explanatory. Cam Newton has had more playing time with the starters. Both in camp and during games. That means something. Because while Belichick has said ‘don’t worry about who you’re playing with’, it’s important to know who you’re playing against. And Newton has gone against more potential starters than Mac has so far. If Mac was going to be the starter, you would’ve seen that play out differently in this last preseason game.
Cam Deserves It
Just like all of you, I was 100% done with Cam Newton after watching him play last year. It was almost an insult to my eyes to watch sometimes. But he came back on a one year deal and, if you trust Belichick, the coaches and his teammates, he seems to be ‘getting it’ now. Last year Cam had little to no time to learn the playbook, dealt with nagging injuries and caught COVID. Those things clearly messed him up. And his teammates know that to! It’s clear that everyone in that building believes Cam deserves a real shot at this job.
Conclusion: Bam Bam Cam Time
Listen friends, I want Mac Jones to start just as much as (most) of you do. The guy brings a new, fresh excitement with him when he steps on the field. His confidence is undeniable and he seems to be ahead of schedule. But the best thing for this team is for Newton to start. I mean, the Pats have the Dolphins, Jets and Saints to start the season. I think Cam can take care of them. Then Brady comes to town and the season really starts. But for now, you start Cam, hope for the best and know that you’re ready for the worst.
Oh, and I know you all heard the quote by now where Belichick said…well…let me just show you his exact quote:
Question: Looking ahead to the regular season, have you made a decision on who will start at quarterback in the opener?
Bill Belichick: “No, we still have a lot of decisions to make.” pic.twitter.com/jyDxpFioTa
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 30, 2021
Question: How would the Patriots benefit from naming their starter almost two weeks ahead of Week 1? Why would you give the Dolphins that much time to prepare for ONE quarterback when you could force them to split their practice time preparing for TWO quarterbacks? Chess. Checkers. Even if Bill did know who he wanted, what’s he going to do, tease us with it? No. That’s not his style.
As much as it pains some of you to admit it, Cam Newton is going to take another run at being the Patriots starting QB in Week 1. Dread it, run from it, destiny arrives all the same. And that ‘destiny’ is a 6’5″ motivated beast with a chip on his shoulder. Don’t worry Pats fan, really. Mac Jones helming the Patriots Dynasty Version 2.0 is inevitable. But that time has not come yet. Although, please believe, if Superman loses his powers this season, Clark Kent is waiting in his phone booth ready to throw on the cape.
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(Featured Photo Credit: foxnews.com)