After last month's NFL Draft, the New England Patriots are set up to have one of the most interesting quarterback battles in the league. On one side: a former league MVP in Cam Newton, who now has a year in the team's system, and should have more help around him than he did during the disappointing 2020 season. On the other: first-round pick Mac Jones, who is being set up as the team's future at the position.
For all that Bill Belichick has accomplished in his incredible tenure with the Patriots, we've never really seen him handle developing a quarterback. Tom Brady's emergence was a surprise after the injury that sidelined Drew Bledsoe in 2001. He did bring along Jimmy Garoppolo a bit, but Brady's incredible late-career play boxed him out from inheriting the job.
Tedy Bruschi is about as familiar with Belichick as anyone in media. The former Patriots linebacker believes that Newton, the veteran, will start the season, but that Jones will eventually take over as Newton takes punishment during the season. One big factor: Bruschi doesn't think Belichick will want Jones to go up against Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4.
“I think Cam Newton will start the year,” Bruschi said on ESPN's Get Up this morning, per NESN. "He’ll hold onto it possibly for four or five weeks. You do not want Mac Jones going in to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady. So, that’s Week 4. I think Cam holds it through there."
After Newton handles the start of the season, Bruschi thinks Jones will get the nod at mid-season. We saw Newton struggle as the season went along in 2020, and the former Pats linebacker thinks that may happen again.
"I think Cam eventually does get beat up because of the nine, 10 times (per game) they want to run him and be a power quarterback. He gets beat up a little bit, his throwing accuracy suffers eventually and around the fifth or sixth game, here comes Mac Jones for the rest of the way.”
Jones was a late bloomer at Alabama, exploding last season after sitting behind Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa to start his college career. We'll see how quickly he ramps up to the NFL game, or if Belichick elects to keep him on the bench for the full season if possible.