Cam Newton's absence from the New England Patriots reportedly isn't sitting well with some members of the organization.
Per NFL Network's Michael Giardi, there is a "level of frustration internally" with the Patriots regarding the star quarterback.
Giardi's report comes one day after the team announced Newton will be away until Thursday due to a misunderstanding about COVID-19 testing protocols conducted outside of team facilities.
According to Giardi, Newton's situation has "'opened' a window of opportunity" for Mac Jones to become New England's starting quarterback in Week 1 of the regular season.
Head coach Bill Belichick has been coy about where things stand in the quarterback race between Newton and Jones throughout the preseason, though he did open up a little bit on Tuesday.
"We’ll evaluate everything the way we always do: based on the information we have," Belichick told reporters.
The Patriots coach was asked if this is a big opportunity for Jones: "It is, yes,"
The Patriots' statement noted that Newton underwent daily COVID-19 testing after receiving approval to leave the New England area to attend a medical appointment, but the misunderstanding about the protocols established by the NFL and NFL Players Association requires him to go through the "five-day entry cadence process" before being allowed back with the team.
Both players fared well in Thursday's 35-0 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Newton went 8-of-9 for 103 yards and one touchdown in three drives during the first quarter.
Jones finished 13-of-19 for 146 yards over four drives between the second and third quarters.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told reporters Monday that Newton "certainly is the starter now" but left the door open for the possibility that either one could be in the role when the regular season starts.
"But, I know those guys are really competing hard and we’re giving them an opportunity to compete and play a lot of football," McDaniels said.
Newton has started each of New England's first two preseason games. He has gone 12-of-16 with 152 yards and a touchdown. Jones, the No. 15 pick this year, is 26-of-38 for 233 yards in his first two appearances.
The Patriots will wrap up their preseason schedule Sunday against the New York Giants. They are scheduled to host the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Week 1 of the regular season on Sept. 12.