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Belichick praises Newton, but says Mac Jones is Pats' 'future'

/ by Darren Hartwell
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Bill Belichick didn't offer much insight into the New England Patriots' quarterback situation the day after they released Cam Newton. But the Patriots head coach was in a slightly more talkative mood Tuesday morning.

"It's always difficult when you have to reduce your roster," Belichick told WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show," addressing New England's decision to cut the 32-year-old Newton and make rookie Mac Jones the starting QB.

"A lot of guys that worked hard. A lot of guys that performed well and had either good years for us, or good careers. I respect all those things, but each year is its own year and I have to do what I feel like is best for the football team. So in regard to every decision, that’s what I try to do."

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Even after the Patriots drafted Jones 15th overall, Belichick insisted Newton was the starter. That appeared to be the case throughout the preseason, with Newton getting first-team reps. But Jones apparently convinced Belichick and his staff that he was capable of starting right out of the gate.

"I have nothing but positive thoughts and feelings for Cam," Belichick said. "He came in here, he worked hard. He gave us everything (he) had. Right now, our future is going to be Mac at quarterback, and that is where we’re going to go."

 

Handing the keys to Jones is an unprecedented move by the Patriots, who haven't started a rookie quarterback in Week 1 since No. 1 overall pick Drew Bledsoe in 1993. Jones has shown impressive poise and command of the offense to date, though, and New England's release of Newton is a ringing endorsement of the Alabama product.

Jones' first chance to validate Belichick's decision comes Sunday afternoon against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.

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