Mac Jones

Let Mac Jones’ career begin

Bill Belichick would have preferred Cam Newton as his starting quarterback.

It is the longest of shots that we will hear that directly from a man who responds to “good morning” with “It is what it is.”

That preference does not make Belichick unique. No NFL coach – or any football coach at any level – would pencil in a rookie QB unless reality forces that pencil into his hand.

Everyone would prefer an experienced quarterback, for all the obvious reasons. Using shorthand to make that point veterans know a bunch of things that rookies must learn.

And there will be ugly moments from which Mac Jones will learn those lessons. Intelligent and level-headed as Mac seems, as much as his new teammates are said to like and respect him, he is very much a work in progress.

All of the above is meant to warn those who cracked open champagne bottles when news of Newton’s release hit the streets: 

Don’t assume that Jones is taking his first step towards Canton – the Ohio Canton, that is.

The only guarantee for Pats fans is that they will have an interesting, not always pretty look at a kid trying to earn his NFL chops.

Jones’ climb into the driver’s seat is his first great accomplishment. Newton, for all his flaws, actually played better this summer than he did at the end of last season. 

Obviously, that was not a particularly high bar to clear. But he did clear it. Folks who deny Newton that crumb of respect can now clear their minds of that fumble in Buffalo, or one of the other lowlights from his 2020 season. 

But Jones played better. From all accounts he has proved willing to put in the long hours and absorb all the critiques that have come so far, and all that will come in his first 17 NFL games. 

Maybe Belichick has known this from Day 1. Maybe he let Newton know it, too.

That would offer a reasonable explanation as to why Newton’s absence last week, not to mention his apparent ambivalence about getting a COVID vaccination, cost him next-to nothing in terms of punishment.

Or it may well be that his release was the ultimate punishment.

Not that it really matters. The important thing is that he Is no longer the New England Patriots quarterback.

Let Mac Jones’ career begin.

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