Mac Jones and Cam Newton highlighted one of the NFL's most important training camp battles. The New England Patriots' starting quarterback job was a decision with a lot at stake. Jones had a sensational offseason and historic preseason. He won the job over Newton, and Newton was released into free agency.
Mac Jones had the best rookie preseason grade of all time, according to Pro Football Focus. Jones was also graded better than all of his peers from the 2021 draft class. Mac Jones earned the trust of head coach Bill Belichick, who believes he has found his quarterback entering the twilight of his career.
Will Mac Jones play in Week 1 for the New England Patriots?
Mac Jones will play against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1.
The Patriots will open their 2021 season against a division rival. The Miami Dolphins will travel to Foxborough. Meaning Mac Jones will get to play his first game in front of an electric and loud home stadium. When he debuted in the preseason, he had the entire stadium backing and supporting him.
The Dolphins will present a big challenge to Mac Jones in the form of their secondary. Xavien Howard is one of the NFL's best at baiting quarterbacks and intercepting them. Meanwhile, they have Byron Jones, who does a great job clamping down on the number one wide receiver.
Mac Jones will have some good targets to throw to, and that begins with their tight ends. Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry were brought in via free agency for a lot of money. A good tight end is a security blanket for a young quarterback, and Jones will have two at his disposal. He will also have a veteran pass-catching back James White as a safety net.
Just how good was Jones in the preseason?
Jones is incredibly poised under pressure, which is the opposite of what rookies typically are. But the Patriots didn't hold back in practice. They sent all kinds of formations at him to make sure he was prepared for anything. Jones showed his preparedness by throwing no interceptions in the preseason, as well as a jaw-dropping 97.4 passer rating.
Mac Jones isn't going to be immune to making mistakes, however. But the key is to not make the same mistake twice. Belichick preaches this and Jones learned from his mistakes, according to a report by NFL Network's James Palmer.
The Patriots won't have to wait much longer for week one and the regular-season debut of Mac Jones.