Patriots

Cassel names biggest concern with starting a rookie QB

Patriots

The Mac Jones era has officially begun in New England as the rookie quarterback now is atop the Patriots' depth chart following Cam Newton's release.

The move unsurprisingly was met with plenty of excitement from folks across the region. Jones has impressed throughout training camp and preseason to win the starting job. After a down year with Newton at the helm, Jones represents a breath of fresh air for an organization looking to return to prominence.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Not hard to understand why Jones is in, Newton is out | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

But as fun as it will be to watch the young QB in 2021, fans probably should temper expectations. Former Pats QB Matt Cassel explained why Tuesday on NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition and named his biggest concern with Jones starting the full season.

"I think it's the experience factor, and while we watched him in preseason absolutely dominate, you have to take it with a grain of salt," Cassel said. "He was going up against twos, threes, fours. And then when you get to that first game in this regular season against Miami, the bullets are going to be flying.

"Brian Flores is going to have some definite disguises for him, going to try and confuse him, so there's a growth that's gonna have to take place during early in this season whether it's against the Miami Dolphins or against the Jets with Robert Saleh and that defense.

 

"And then it gets real difficult as you get to games three and four against the Saints and the Bucs as well. You're going to have to take the good with the bad early on. Hopefully what they can do is get him some easy completions, get him settled in whether it's screens, whether it's pocket movement stuff. But the best thing this offense can do for Mac Jones early on is to have that great run game that they do with that great offensive line and protect him."

You'd be hard-pressed to find many QBs who didn't deal with growing pains during their rookie season. It'd be more surprising if Jones didn't experience struggles over the course of the 17-game campaign. Regardless, Bill Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff gave the ultimate vote of confidence to their first-round draft pick on Tuesday. We'll soon see what he does with the opportunity.

Hear everything Cassel had to say in the video above.