Pats explain why they went with Mac Jones over Cam Newton

The New England Patriots shocked the NFL world Tuesday with the release of quarterback Cam Newton. With the move, the team made it clear it believed rookie Mac Jones is the right person to lead the Patriots moving forward. 

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Head coach Bill Belichick has addressed the move, but hasn’t gone in depth on what led to the team turning things over to Jones so early in his career. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels tried to shed some light on the team’s decision Wednesday, saying he feels “really confident about [Jones’] approach.”

McDaniels specifically mentioned Jones being “well-prepared,” said Jones has improved every day and complimented Jones’ ability to take “care of the football.” He also said Jones learns from his mistakes and can easily put his mistakes behind him.

Those are all fine traits for a quarterback, especially one as young as Jones, but those comments don’t tell really tell fans much about Jones’ abilities. McDaniels isn’t talking about how Jones can progress through his reads or Jones’ knowledge of the playbook or anything like that. 

That doesn’t mean Jones is incapable of those things. He’s played well during the preseason and looks worthy of the team’s first-round pick. McDaniels is under no obligation to get specific on what Jones does well because it’s in his best interest to keep that a secret. He doesn’t want to tip off other teams to Jones’ strengths. That could influence how defenses play against Jones at the start of the season.

Patriots chose Mac Jones over Cam Newton

If anything, McDaniels’ comments might shed more light on what the team thought about Newton. Did the Patriots not see the same type of improvement in Newton in his second year in the offense? Did the team think Newton turned the ball over too much or had trouble getting over his mistakes? Belichick and McDaniels will never go into specifics on that decision, leaving fans to speculate.

Even if Belichick and McDaniels have reservations about Jones, both men must believe he’s a better option for the Patriots than Newton right now. There might be bumps in the road as Jones develops, but, with Newton gone, Jones should have the entire season to prove he can be the team’s next star at quarterback.

Mac Jones will start for the Patriots after Cam Newton’s release. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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