New England Patriots

Aug 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) passes the ball during the first half against Washington Football Team at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night was the next step in the Patriots’ quarterback competition, and a big one for rookie Mac Jones, who looked the part facing live NFL action for the first time in the preseason opener against Washington.

And as it relates to the quarterback competition, Jones may have picked up a little ground on presumptive starter Cam Newton, but it was hardly decisive, as Newton showed flashes of improvement as well after a rough 2020 campaign.

Statistically, Newton finished 4-of-7 passing with no touchdowns or interceptions before he came out of the game late in the first quarter. Jones, who was on the field for five drives in all in his preseason debut, finished 13-of-19, also without a touchdown or pick.

Newton’s highpoints including a pair of pinpoint throws to Jakobi Meyers, displaying better ball placement than he showed at times last year. He also seemed more in control pre-snap, an element of his game he said he focused on improving in the offseason.

However, he wasn’t without his faults. He missed James White on a pair of screen passes, with each ending a Patriots drive.

MORE: Patriots roster projection 1.0

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.