The New England Patriots likely expected to go into the season with Cam Newton as the starting quarterback and first-round pick Mac Jones as the backup, but the Alabama rookie has made it very hard to stick to that plan given his play in the preseason.
Jones has looked much further along in his development than anyone could have anticipated, and Newton’s own struggles paired with a COVID-19 mix-up that cost him practice time has helped make Jones the talk of the town in New England.
Of course, there’s more to being a franchise quarterback than just a handful of impressive practices in a row. Will Jones be able to take what he has done so far in New England and translate it into victories elsewhere? According to longtime NFL quarterback and Pittsburgh Steelers backup Charlie Batch, Jones is more than capable of being a star.
Speaking on FanSided’s “The Matt Lombardo Show,” Batch claimed that he wouldn’t be surprised for a second if Jones was named the starter over Newton, claiming that his ability to quickly absorb the offense and translate that knowledge into success on the field.
“If Mac can go through that learning process, show he can move the offense, and that moves into the preseason game, it wouldn’t surprise me if Bill Belichick names him the Week 1 starter,” Batch said.
Charlie Batch thinks Mac Jones could dominate with the Patriots.
Batch believes that the Patriots’ offense is better suited for a pocket passer like Jones instead of a dual-threat like Newton, citing the fact that the Newton-centric offense from 2020 didn’t look as clean and efficient as the old-school drop-back attack with Tom Brady under center.
“He’s probably the least-mobile out of all the [rookie] quarterbacks, and that may be something that works in his favor,” Batch added. “He’s able to sit in the pocket, deliver the football down the field … they can say ‘we can carve out this offense, because we’re used to what this offense can look like with a quarterback like him leading it.'”
So far, Jones has been an exemplary young player in Patriots camp, with veterans like Dont’a Hightower commending both his talent on the football field and desire to improve off of it.
Batch’s perspective here is even more interesting considering he went through the same thing during his rookie season with the Detroit Lions. A second-round pick out of Michigan State, Batch eventually overtook high-priced free-agent starter Scott Mitchell.
He knows the dynamics at play and what Jones has to do to win over coaches, and he sounds very impressed with what No. 10 has done so far.
It remains to be seen if Jones ends up as the starter due to Newton’s pedigree and ability to make plays with his legs, but he has done everything he can to impress the coaching staff in practice.