Bill Belichick on Cam Newton, Mac Jones: 'We Still Have a Lot of Decisions to Make'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 30, 2021

FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 12: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in the first half against the Washington Football Team at Gillette Stadium on  August 12, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick remained noncommittal about the team's quarterback situation following Sunday's 22-20 win over the New York Giants.

"We still have a lot of decisions to make," he told reporters when asked about the starter for Week 1 of the regular season.

New England selected Mac Jones in the first round because they envision him as the long-term answer under center, but Cam Newton seems to have the inside track on the starting gig for 2021.

Newton has the obvious edge in experience, and the Patriots saw enough in the three-time Pro Bowler to sign him to another one-year contract. He threw for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions while running for 592 yards and 12 scores.

Newton later acknowledged that testing positive for COVID-19 had a prolonged effect on his performance.

As much as the 2015 MVP has working in his favor, Jones has done everything he can to run the offense right out of the gate.

The former Alabama star went 10-of-14 for 156 yards and one touchdown Sunday. He finished the preseason with 389 passing yards.

Mike Reiss @MikeReiss

Mac Jones giving Bill Belichick something to think about today as it relates to starting QB. Jones took a TON of reps, and he was on his game, capping things off with successful 2-minute long TD drive. He got a low-5 from Belichick after that one.

Warren Sharp @SharpFootball

Mac Jones preseason drives:<br><br>Week 3:<br>8 plays, 45 yards, FG<br>punt<br>6 plays, 75 yards, TD<br>4 plays, 50 yards, TD<br><br>Week 2:<br>17 plays, 91 yards, TD<br>9 plays, 75 yards, TD<br>10 plays, 70 yards, TD<br><br>Week 1:<br>10 plays, 43 yards, FG<br>punt<br>13 plays, 53 yards, FG

NFL Network's Michael Giardi also reported Newton's violation of the NFL's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, which caused him to miss multiple practices, may have helped Jones:

Michael Giardi @MikeGiardi

Per sources, there is a level of frustration internally with the Cam Newton situation. One important member of the organization believes this has "opened" a window of opportunity for rookie Mac Jones. The team practices today and then with the NYG tomorrow b4 Newton can return.

Belichick and his assistants may still be weighing all of their options, or he could be looking to draw this out as long as possible to disrupt the Miami Dolphins' opening week preparations.

It's a testament to Jones' effort that this could plausibly be up in the air at all.