Newton didn’t perform very well last year, but most figured he’d get one more shot as the starter in New England. The team didn’t exactly surround him with a stellar supporting cast in 2020, and Belichick doesn’t seem like one to throw a rookie to the wolves if he isn’t ready.
Jones looked to be at least Newton’s equal during training camp and preseason, if not a bit ahead of the former MVP. The Alabama product’s performance is one big reason for today’s decision, according to Adam Beasley of the Pro Football Network.
The others: Cam’s own lackluster play at times this summer, and his unfortunate stance around the COVID-19 vaccine. Newton wouldn’t answer questions about his vaccination status, and missed time just last week due to a “misunderstanding” about protocols.
There wasn't just one reason that Cam Newton is gone. It was a combination of at least three, I'm told: Mac Jones' emergence, Newton's vaccination stance (which caused a bit of a stir behind the scenes) and Cam's uninspiring performance this summer.
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) August 31, 2021
Cam Newton’s absence opened up further opportunities for Mac Jones, Belichick confirmed last week. “Of course…If we couldn’t gain anything by practicing, then why do we practice?” the legendary coach said, when asked about the situation.
He’s taken advantage of just about every opportunity he’s received in recent years, going back to the end of the 2019 season at Alabama, when he was thrust into the starting job after Tua Tagovailoa’s hip injury.
Now, Jones and Tagovailoa are set to go head-to-head in Week 1, when the Patriots host the AFC East rival Miami Dolphins. We figured we’d get some battles between these two down the road. Few thought it would be this soon, though.