Belichick puts ball in Mac Jones' court with Newton sidelined


Bill Belichick said a whole lot in just two words Tuesday.

The New England Patriots head coach was asked about the "misunderstanding" over COVID tests that will sideline Cam Newton until Thursday and predictably didn't expand on the subject.

"I don’t have anything to add to it," Belichick told our Tom E. Curran during a press conference outside Gillette Stadium.

Curran: Newton's COVID protocol setback entirely preventable

Curran then asked Belichick if this is a big week for rookie Mac Jones, who should see increased practice reps as the Patriots' de facto starter Tuesday and Wednesday.

"It is," Belichick replied.

That's quite the admission by Belichick's standards. The Patriots coach has tried to avoid talking about Jones in specifics this offseason, instead noting that every player is trying to improve during the preseason. So, while Belichick is stating the obvious, he's also issuing a challenge of sorts to Jones, who will get to compete against the New York Giants in joint practices Wednesday.

Belichick added he expects Newton to be available for Thursday's joint practice session after a five-day absence. But NFL Media's Michael Giardi reported Tuesday that New England is frustrated with the 32-year-old quarterback over the COVID test situation, and that one member of the organization views this as a "window of opportunity" for Jones.

It sounds like Belichick agrees with at least the second half of that report, so all eyes will be on Jones this week.