The Patriots held a quarterback game for the second consecutive offseason. So far, nothing has been resolved. In the words of Cam Newton.
Before the Patriots’ preseason game against the Eagles on Thursday, Newton was taken aback when asked if coach Bill Belichick had told him who would start Week 1.
“You know the answer to this question,” Newton told reporters Through a smile. “You are all sitting here asking me stupid questions. I don’t know what you want me to say. You know he didn’t say that.”
However, soon, Belichick will have to make a decision. After all, there is only one preseason game left.
But is there enough separation between Newton and McJones now to declare the winner? This is the situation in the New England quarterback after the team defeated Philadelphia 35-0 in the second week of the preseason.
Break Cam Newton in the Patriots vs. Eagles game
Newton’s performance against the Eagles was much better than his debut against the Washington football team. He played three series on Thursday night and led the team to two touchdowns.
It is true that due to the Eagles’ mistakes, the first score came from the short game. But in the other two breakthroughs, Newton gave the Patriots a chance to score.
Newton’s second driving force is very strong. He helped the Patriots move 56 yards in eight games and set the field goal percentage that Quinn Nordin missed. Newton threw a beautiful ball at Kendrick Byrne on the drive and looked comfortable in his pocket.
The Eagles didn’t play their starters on the defensive line, so that’s part of the reason why Newton didn’t take too much pressure. Nevertheless, due to the extra time in his pocket, he took full advantage of his opportunities and was able to read the field well. This is how he found Jakobi Meyers on the third and final touchdown that night.
Newton completed 8 of 9 passes for 103 yards and touchdowns. He did not record a hasty attempt. The veteran showed what fans couldn’t see from him last year: willing to throw the ball low.
In today’s New England Series II, Cam Newton completed three passes of at least 10 yards.
Newton completed three passes of more than 10 yards in only one drive twice in 2020, all in the second week of the game against Seattle. pic.twitter.com/Wh3dToo3d2
— ESPN Statistics and Information (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 20, 2021
Defeat Mike Jones in the Patriots vs. Eagles game
Newton’s steady outing put pressure on Jones. The rookie participated in the Patriots’ fourth game, which began in their ninth game. He quickly led the team to a 91-yard touchdown.
Jones had to throw from his end zone in the third and 13th quarters to move the chain. He found N’Keal Harry in the middle for 19 yards.
From there, the Patriots played 17 games on the field, a 9-minute drive.
However, Jones does have one or two short-lived episodes in this series. When he stared at the catcher and linebacker TJ Edwards stealing the ball, he was almost intercepted in the second game.
With less than a minute left in the first half, Jones almost completed a 55-yard TD against Harry. He threw the ball towards the target, but Harry couldn’t get it in.
Mac Jones’s absolute dime and N’Keal Harry’s good passing route. Hope he is okay, but this must be caught. Now the Mac has dropped one in the bucket on the left side for two consecutive weeks. pic.twitter.com/Xy29MBnx2h
— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) August 20, 2021
Although this is not a touchdown, it still demonstrates Jones’ accuracy. He strode his receiver and kept them in the game all night. He is also suitable for throwing into narrow windows, such as Gunner Olszewski’s finish.
Jones did everything well on Thursday. He pitches rhythmically, climbs into his pockets to avoid pressure, and shows good speed. He ended 146 yards with 13 of 19 passes. He also ran for 3 yards.
Although Jones didn’t make a touchdown pass, he had two potential TDs lost by Harry and Devin Asiasi. Regardless, three of Jones’ four drives ended in touchdowns.
Which quarterback has the upper hand in the Patriots’ QB battle?
Things even passed two preseason games. Both QBs passed the eye test on the Eagles and their statistical performance was similar.
Jones has more passing yards, but he also plays more. Newton had a touchdown pass, and Jones didn’t throw a ball. In other words, Jones led many scoring drives, so the TD numbers do not tell the whole story.
If things continue to be like this, Belichick will face a difficult decision. Neither passer pulled the distance in the game, and, as expected, Belichick did not tip his hand after Thursday’s game.
But if everything else is the same, Belichick might roll with Newton. Why? Because that has always been Belichick’s plan.
Bilick said that even though the team drafted Jones with the 15th overall pick in April, “Cam is our quarterback.” He strengthened this position during the training camp.
“Cam is our starting quarterback, I think I’ve already said it,” Belichick reiterated on July 31.
Can he change his mind? Of course, but after starting two preseason games, Newton should be seen as the first choice for Bilic as a starter in the first week.