The biggest storyline surrounding the New England Patriots is the quarterback competition, which took center stage in Thursday's preseason opener versus the Washington Football Team.
Cam Newton started and played the first two series. Rookie Mac Jones played the next five series. Neither player was amazing, but the offense did look a bit better with Jones at the helm. In fairness, he did play a bunch more snaps than Newton.
Many Patriots fans are hoping Jones is the Week 1 starter when the Miami Dolphins come to Gillette Stadium on Sept. 12 to begin the regular season. It also wouldn't be shocking if head coach Bill Belichick opted to go with the veteran in Newton, though.
One former Patriots quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, said Friday during an interview with "The Zach Gelb Show" on CBS Sports Radio that he'd like to see Newton play a full year in New England's offense after a challenging 2020 campaign for both the player and the team.
"I think they've got to let Cam go a little bit. And I would really like to see Cam get a full year," Bledsoe said. "Last year, the cupboard was kind of empty up there, and I think everybody recognizes that now. There wasn't a lot in terms of weapons for him. They went out and got some weapons, and I think it'd be great to see Cam get back out there and show why he was an NFL MVP."
Bledsoe makes some interesting and fair points. The Patriots definitely have much better weapons on offense this year compared to last season. The offseason free agent spending spree to acquire wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor, as well as tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith has significantly bolstered the talent level and depth of the team's offense. Newton has a lot more to work with in 2021, that's for sure.
Could it also benefit Jones to sit a year and learn the offense as the backup? It's a pretty common route for young quarterbacks, one that many great players have taken, including Patrick Mahomes.
"It'd also be pretty good for Mac to watch it for a year and then be ready to rock going forward," Bledsoe said. "But I'd love to see Cam get a chance to get out there and get after it and show what he can really do."
Throwing a rookie quarterback into the fray too early does have the potential to backfire. We've seen that scenario unfold quite a bit.
That said, Jones doesn't handle himself like a typical rookie. He plays with tremendous poise, he's an accurate passer and, according to Newton, his preparation is "always pristine."
The Patriots still have some time before they need to announce who will start the opener against the Dolphins. Next week's reps against the Philadelphia Eagles in joint practices and the second preseason game will be a huge opportunity for both quarterbacks. Those reps will give us a more clear picture of which QB should be the starter.