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New England Patriots reporter details when Mac Jones could start in 2021

Matt Johnson

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The New England Patriots will likely take the field in Week 1 with Cam Newton as the starting quarterback. But as training camp draws closer, fans in Foxborough are even more excited about Mac Jones and counting down the days until he takes over.

New England drafted Jones with the No. 15 pick, drawing strong reactions during the NFL Draft. While many didn’t view the former Alabama star as a top-10 prospect, there was plenty of praise when Bill Belichick drafted his next franchise quarterback.

After making the pick, Belichick made it clear Newton remains the starter. It holds true thus far during voluntary practices as the former NFL MVP is taking first-team reps. But coming off a disappointing season, fans are hoping they don’t have to wait long to see Jones.

Related: New England Patriots likely to start Cam Newton in 2021

When will Mac Jones start for the Patriots?

The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, who covers the Patriots, recently appeared on The Rich Eisen Show to discuss how things could play out for New England this season. Newton is still expected to start in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins, but he might not hold the gig for long.

“If it’s close, I think you’ve got a minimum of four starts for Cam Newton before they have to think about whether or not they go to Mac Jones. If Jones is ever going to take over, if he doesn’t start the season, it’s between Week 6 and 11.”

Jeff Howe on The Rich Eisen Show

The Patriots still have a lot of confidence in Newton. Belichick raved about him following the 2020 season, despite the quarterback’s lackluster end and diminished arm. Newton ended the season with just an 82.9 passer rating and an ugly 8-10 TD-INT ratio, but he impressed early in the season before getting COVID-19.

  • Cam Newton stats (Week 1-3) 68.13% completion rate, 89.7 passer rating, 714 passing yards, 149 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns

Read More: 3 moves New England Patriots should make before Week 1

New England overhauled its offense this spring, reshaping the receiver room and adding tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Given this team’s emphasis on running the football and controlling the clock, it makes sense to start a quarterback who rushed for 592 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns in 15 games.

Belichick won’t hand Jones the job until the rookie earns it. If the Patriots make it through the first six games of their schedule with a 4-2 record and this team is in the playoff hunt, Newton might keep the job until the wheels come off.