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Cam Newton says New England Patriots have not named starting QB

Vincent Frank

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New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton said coach Bill Belichick has yet to name his starter for New England’s regular-season opener against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 12.

Newton is competing with rookie first-round pick Mac Jones for the starting job.

Newton completed 4-of-7 passes for 49 yards while Jones connected on 13-of-19 pass attempts for 87 yards in New England’s 22-13 win over Washington in the Patriots’ preseason opener on Thursday.

Neither quarterback threw a touchdown or an interception, and Newton said Belichick has not indicated who he plans to start against Miami.

“You know, he hasn’t said that. So for you to just ask that question, you know, it is what it is,” Newton told reporters Monday following the Patriots’ practice with the Philadelphia Eagles. “Every single day, I’m coming out here with the anticipation to just get better, and that’s the only thing that I can do. So, I can control that.”

Should Cam Newton be New England Patriots’ Week 1 starter?

new england patriots qb cam newton
Aug 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) throws the ball during the first half of a game against the Washington Football Team at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not an easy question to answer. While Jones completed a high percentage of his passes in the Patriots’ season opener, most of his attempts were of the short variety. There was very little downfield, which is to be expected for a rookie quarterback making his preseason debut.

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Jones’ average yards per attempt was 4.6 compared to 7.0 for Cam Newton. Obviously, it’s just the preseason. Numbers really shouldn’t matter, especially when we’re looking at backup skill-position players taking to the field a lot.

Jones was the 15th overall pick out of Alabama in April. He played one series behind the Patriots’ starting offensive line on Thursday and led New England to a pair of field goals during his five total series.

Newton has been taking the first-team reps during training camp.

Even then, it does seem as if Newton has a better command of the Patriots’ offense than during his first season with the team. Remember, the former NFL MVP did not have an ability to work with his teammates during the 2020 offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The preseason slate was canceled. He also caught COVID-19 himself, missing a game in the process. Things are vastly different in 2021.

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(Field Level Media contributed to this report)