Bill Belichick’s decision to cut Cam Newton and name rookie quarterback Mac Jones as the New England Patriots’ starter was a controversial one to say the least. For one former Patriots tight end, it has him borderline livid.
On Wednesday, former Patriots tight end Jermaine Wiggins appeared on Early Edition and called the move “a huge mistake” and one that could get ugly. He doesn’t feel it’s right to the the organization over to a rookie since his learning curve may cost the team games.
“I think it’s a huge mistake and it has the potential to be really ugly,” Wiggins said. “The fact that you’re handing the keys to your organization to a rookie, on a team that we all expected based on what they did in the offseason has got to be a playoff-caliber football team. Every rookie quarterback is going to deal with growing pains, is going to deal with, you know what, now I’m in the NFL, it’s no longer preseason. They’re the disguising coverages, they’re blitzing, they’re doing all types of things that I’ve never seen before. And it’s just gonna take time for Mac to see certain things.
“And guess what? The time that it might take might be the difference between wins and losses, and the pressure that you’re putting on this kid, on a team that is expected to make the postseason based on the players that they have in that locker room. If he comes out and he plays bad, you don’t think all eyes are gonna be on him in the media? And there might be some guys in that locker room going, well, did you make the right decision? Did we rush this kid in too early to play?”
— NFL (@NFL) August 31, 2021
Mac Jones will be the first rookie quarterback in decades to start for the New England Patriots in Week 1. Last year the team went with Cam Newton, but struggled to produce on offense.
The end result with Newton at the helm was a 7-9 record – their first losing season since 2000.
In the ensuing offseason, the Patriots brought Newton back for a second year, but drafted Jones No. 15 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jones was the Patriots’ highest-selected pick since Drew Bledsoe in the early-1990s.
It’s certainly possible that Jones will struggle mightily as a rookie. But these days rookie quarterbacks tend to perform a lot better than they did just a decade ago.
Does Jermaine Wiggins have a point about Mac Jones here?