The Patriots’ wrapped up their preseason Sunday night in New York, meaning it was our final chance to see both quarterbacks back-to-back in competitive reps. Based on the way the Patriots have operated over the last few weeks, it seems as though Cam Newton will be the team’s starting quarterback for Week 1, and it could be some time before we see Mac Jones playing in live action again.
Newton’s final action of the preseason was limited. Over the course of two drives, he was 2-of-5 for 10 yards with an interception. Granted, the pick was one of his better throws of the night, nicely placing a back-shoulder throw for Jakobi Meyers. However, Giants linebacker Blake Martinez made a better play on the ball, ripping it away from Meyers.
Blake Martinez steals one of Cam’s better throws as a Patriot.— Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) August 29, 2021
Rare loss for Jakobi at the catch point pic.twitter.com/3WCjsqTkr6
Jones played the entirety of the second and third quarters, in what were likely his last competitive reps for some time. He played his best football of the preseason, finishing 10-of-14 for 156 yards and a touchdown.
That touchdown pass in particular was one of Jones’ best throws of the summer, and showed the mental growth the first-round pick has made since arriving in Foxborough in May. Working in the red zone, he looked off a safety before returning to the back side of the play and firing a dart between two defenders to Isaiah Zuber.
That was Zuber.@Zuber_7More | @MacJones_10— New England Patriots (@Patriots) August 29, 2021
📺: @wbzsports / @nflnetwork / Patriots app pic.twitter.com/Trur66oaIm
Given the way the Patriots have historically handled rookies, it never felt realistic that Jones would be named the Week 1 starter. His real goal this summer was to prove he is an NFL-capable quarterback and close the gap on Newton, both of which he did. With limited reps available for the backup QB in a regular season setting, he won’t have those same kind of chances moving forwards.
Now, the ball is in Cam Newton’s hands as Week 1 approaches. This summer, he looked like an improved passer from the player that ended the 2020 season. His goal now is to continue that into the Miami game, and beyond.
MORE: Complete Patriots Training Camp Coverage
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.