Bill Belichick shares hint about Patriots’ QB situation
Bill Belichick was quick to say that Cam Newton is the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback after the team drafted Mac Jones in the first round, but it sounds like that is less of a sure thing now.
Belichick spoke with reporters at the start of training camp on Tuesday, and he was asked if there will be a quarterback competition in the coming weeks. He said everyone has a “clean slate.”
Question (via @IanSteeleABC6): Will there be an open competition for starting quarterback?
Bill Belichick (deflecting): "Every one of us has to go out and establish our level of performance in whatever our role or capacity is. It's a new season. … That includes all of us."
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) July 27, 2021
That’s a big change from what Belichick said immediately after the draft. He conceded that Jones and Jarrett Stidham would have a chance to compete but called Newton “our quarterback.”
Newton is still the favorite to start in Week 1, but there have been numerous reports that Jones could push him for the starting job. The Patriots have improved their supporting case by signing tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry and wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. They’ll likely give Newton a chance to improve upon his abysmal 2020 season with those new skill players, but there will be plenty of pressure to make the switch if Newton struggles.
Even Newton has had very high praise for Jones. One anonymous Patriots player also had a very telling comment about the former Alabama star recently. Belichick has always said that he will do whatever he can to put the team in the best position to win. If that means playing Jones, that is what he will do.