With the absence of Cam Newton this week after a missed COVID-19 test, a window of opportunity was opened up for Mac Jones to take starting reps for the New England Patriots. And while the No. 15 overall pick was likely thrilled to get a chance to show his stuff, he also seems pleased to have his veteran mentor back on the field.
Clearing his five-day quarantine period, Newton returned to practice on Thursday.
Jones reacted to the return in a post-practice press conference.
“It was good,” the first-round QB said, per ESPN NFL insider Mike Reiss. “He came in this morning and everyone was happy to see him. Glad to have him back. Even today, there was something that popped up – he did something with the ‘mike’ – and I can kind of learn from what he did. We talked it through.”
Mac Jones on Cam Newton’s return: “It was good. He came in this morning and everyone was happy to see him. Glad to have him back. Even today, there was something that popped up – he did something with the ‘mike’ – and I can kind of learn from what he did. We talked it through.”
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 26, 2021
In Newton’s absence, Jones has put together an absolutely stellar week of practice. In yesterday’s joint session with the New York Giants, the former Alabama standout went 35/40 and completed 18 straight passes — capping the practice off with a touchdown on a successful 80-yard two-minute drill.
In the Pats’ most recent preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Jones posted an efficient 13/19, 146-yard stat line.
After New England took Jones with its first pick of the 2021 draft, head coach Bill Belichick repeatedly made it clear that Newton was still the starter moving forward. But with the rookie’s recent preseason success, that decision is starting to look more and more difficult.
Earlier today, Belichick said he has “no time table” on an official QB1 decision.
The Patriots will play their third and final preseason matchup against the Giants on Sunday.
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