Mac Jones and Cam Newton battled during training camp for the starting quarterback spot in New England.
The rookie Alabama product ended up shocking the NFL world and came out alive as the clear-cut winner after an impressive preseason performance. Jones will be the heir to legendary quarterback Tom Brady, who left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason.
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Early Wednesday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Newton’s vaccination status had nothing to do with the former MVP’s release. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels explained why Jones won the job and will serve as the team’s starting quarterback moving forward.
“When you look at the whole body of work since he’s gotten here, he’s been well-prepared each day to come in and do the things we ask our players to do,” McDaniels said of Jones via NFL Network. “He’s improved. He’s generally taken care of the football.”
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McDaniels had nothing but positive feedback for Newton following his departure.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a player, as a human being,” McDaniels told reporters. “He knows how I feel about him. He did everything he could to try and help us win.”
Last season, Newton, who had a career-low eight passing touchdowns with 10 interceptions, led the Patriots to a 7-9 record. In Newton’s final outing for the Patriots, he completed 2 of 5 passes for 10 yards with an interception against the New York Giants. In that game, Jones threw for 156 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
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“Really feel confident about [Jones’] approach,” McDaniels added. “[He] tries not to make the same mistake twice. He’s really shown a strong aptitude at a young age to put those mistakes behind him.”