The New England Patriots have one of the most intriguing quarterback battles heading into the 2021 season.
After re-signing with the Pats on a one-year deal earlier this offseason, former league MVP Cam Newton is expected to make the start in Week 1. But, another potential option is looming in the background.
Selected with the No. 15 overall pick, former Alabama standout Mac Jones could be the Pats’ next QB of the future.
While they could be battling it out for the QB1 spot at some point in the 2021 season, Newton gave some affectionate praise to his new teammate.
“‘Mac and Cheese,’ he’s pretty cool, man,” Newton said, per NESN. “He’s quiet. And I think he’s trying to figure everybody out and I’ve been there before. I’ve been a rookie and I’ve been a first-round pick where it’s just like, so much is asked about, you know, from you.”
As a highly-touted quarterback recruit, many people are calling for Jones to take over the starting spot immediately. But, the reigning national champion reportedly still has a long way to go before he’s ready to take starting reps.
Longtime New England head coach Bill Belichick has repeatedly dubbed Newton as his starting quarterback moving forward.
The Patriots QB room currently consists of Newton, Jones, third-year pro Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer. Stidham, a former Auburn standout, has admitted that the drafting of Jones “fired him up.”
Newton on the other hand is taking a more relaxed approach to the QB battle.
“It didn’t make me feel any type of way because he was the right pick, you know what I’m saying, in my opinion. He was the best player available and that is what the NFL draft is for,” the veteran quarterback said. “… We all have to make each other better and it starts with ourselves and holding ourselves to a daily standard.”
Newton missed three practices with a minor hand injury last week. In his absence, Stidham took starting reps, followed by Hoyer, with Jones pulling up the rear.
While practices right now are more about learning plays and getting acclimated, the real QB competition should start to heat up in training camp and preseason.