Cam Newton and Mac Jones may share a quarterback room with the New England Patriots, but they have very different skill sets. While Cam may be the Week 1 starter, former Patriots star Rob Ninkovich thinks that Jones fits the team’s system, as currently constituted, better from day one.
That makes some sense. Jones, a pure pocket passer, more closely resembles Tom Brady than Newton does. The team found some ways to make Cam effective near the goal line, but he struggled to move the ball last season, though it wasn’t only his fault. The Patriots had a very limited set of weapons on the roster in 2020.
Ninkovich, who accurately predicted that the Patriots would take a quarterback in the first round, says that Newton will have a “big role in the offense,” especially in the red zone where he’s so dangerous as a runner. However, he sees Mac Jones supplanting him as the everydown quarterback.
“I’m looking at this from the perspective that there’s two different types of offenses that the Patriots would have to run — one completely different offense with Cam Newton and the other with Mac Jones,” he said on Get Up Wednesday. “The team is built right now to have the typical pro-style, quarterback under center and run the football with 22 personnel … they’re going to be better-suited with Mac Jones under center.
Ninkovich probably has a point. While the Patriots added some Newton-friendly wrinkles to the offense last season, Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels are most accustomed to scheming around a guy like Mac Jones.
Whomever takes most of the snaps under center this year will have a big leg up over where the New England Patriots were last year. Veteran wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne join the team, as do Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, two of the better tight ends available this offseason. The Pats have thrived with two-tight end sets in the past when Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were on the roster. They could look to recreate that look.
The team opens the regular season on Sunday, Sept. 12 at home against the Miami Dolphins.