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The New England Patriots are now Mac Jones‘ team. Bill Belichick is rolling with the rookie out of Alabama as his new starting quarterback entering the 2021 campaign after releasing veteran Cam Newton on Tuesday.
As you might imagine, anyone in the NFL world who has any sentience had a strong reaction to the shocking news, especially those who like to blast their opinions into the Twittersphere.
In retrospect, though, this move feels obvious.
Even though Newton was the incumbent starter from last year, he was clearly in an offense designed for a pure pocket passer. That’s how the Patriots’ two-decade dynasty was built around Tom Brady, and it’s also why New England selected Jones 15th overall in the NFL Draft.
Jones may be a rookie, but he played in a pro-style system under play-caller Steve Sarkisian at Alabama. His ability to meet the immense demands from head coach Nick Saban prepared Jones well for Belichick’s Patriot Way, and his FBS-record 77.4% completion rate and national championship with the Crimson Tide in 2020 didn’t hurt, either.
Pro Football Focus highlighted elite level Jones played at in the preseason, which further cemented his QB1 status:
Once upon a time, Belichick had to make the even tougher decision to move on from an injured Drew Bledsoe in favor of Brady, and that worked out well. Belichick has a history of moving off veteran players sooner rather than later.
Yes, that strategy burned The Hoodie when it came to Brady leaving for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and promptly winning a Super Bowl, yet Belichick usually comes out on the winning side of moves of this nature.
When you also consider the fact that Belichick had never drafted a QB in the first round since taking over in New England prior to Jones, well, the writing was maybe more on the wall that Newton would be gone than most people realize.
In any event, without further ado, get a load of all the white-hot takes and reactions on the Patriots’ decision that marks a watershed moment in their franchise history, and officially signals Jones as TB12’s heir apparent.