The former MVP, knowing the competitor and passionate guy he is, is working tirelessly to avenge his incredibly poor 2020 campaign that was derailed for so many other reasons.
This time around, just about every factor that was working against him truly might be in his favor.
So when we were told there would be a “quarterback competition” at Patriots training camp, perhaps many of us overlooked the fact that Newton was on a mission and likely responded to that form of adversity particularly well.
Because, at this point, it appears as if he’s running laps around Jones.
That’s not to say Jones is doing a terrible job, rather, it’s just clear Newton is QB1.
Cam Newton will be starting for the New England Patriots come Week 1.
Those “uh ohs” from OTAs were short-lived after we saw a few ugly throws from Newton that some us may have been concerned about. Not anymore! He’s throwing 50-yard touchdown bombs to Nelson Agholor and igniting a response from the training camp crowd.
The preseason officially kicks off this Thursday when the Cowboys and Steelers do battle in the Hall of Fame game. The Patriots will take on the Washington Football Team a week later on Aug. 12. If Jones didn’t hit the ground running and out-battle Newton for a majority of days leading up to the first preseason action, this was never going to be a battle.
And that’s seemingly how it’s played out. Even head coach Bill Belichick acknowledged Jones “has a long way to go.”
That, of course, isn’t a bad thing.
Wasn’t the plan always for Jones to clipboard his rookie year and learn from Newton, who had a better grasp of the offense in his second season with some much-needed weapons? The long shot, though it seemed somewhat in reach for a time, was Jones, after just one year as a starter in college at the most prolific program in history, out-dueling a 10-year NFL veteran who also happens to have the second-most rushing yards of any QB in history.
Remember, Newton’s mere presence makes the Patriots offense more dynamic because of his legs. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has to be valuing that, especially if Jones isn’t blowing him away.
Things can change, sure, but all we’ve seen is Newton gradually get better as he’s had more time to acclimate himself. Meanwhile, Jones is adjusting to the speed at the NFL level, learning a complex and completely new offense, and coming a bit back down to earth now that the pads are on.
The best of both worlds? Newton comes back and captains a winning Patriots team, Jones soaks up all the knowledge from him and Brian Hoyer, and New England has a brighter future. No harm in that plan … which was always the plan, anyway.