The season hasn’t started yet, and there is already controversy in New England. On ESPN’s Get Up, former New England Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich said that he doesn’t think that veteran quarterback Cam Newton will have a bounce-back season.
Ninkovich listed a few reasons — the main one being rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who has seemed to impress the Patriots coaches so far. But as history teaches us, things can change in a hurry, especially with the Patriots.
Rob Ninkovich comments on ESPN’s Get Up
Cam Newton will enter the season as the starting quarterback for the Patriots. But Ninkovich clearly thinks it won’t be long before Jones replaces Newton as the team’s starter.
“No, I do not (expect a bounce-back season),” he told ESPN. “This doesn’t come from hate. I’m looking at this perspective of there’s two types of offenses that the Patriots would have to run. One completely different offense with Cam Newton, and the other with Mac Jones.
“The team is built right now to have a typical pro-style quarterback under center, run the football, 22 personnel, 23 personnel. They’re gonna be better-suited with Mac Jones under center.”
This is not the first time Ninkovich has expressed this belief.
Although Ninkovich doesn’t think Newton will be the starter, he still believes Newton will be a huge part of the offense this coming season, especially for red-zone situations.
But he says before it’s all said and done, this will be Mac Jones‘ team.
The Mac Jones factor
There is a reason the Patriots selected the former Alabama quarterback at No. 15 in the 2021 NFL Draft, and it wasn’t for him to sit on the bench.
Compared to most of the quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft, Jones was viewed by many football experts as the most prepared to start in the first game of the year.
Alabama’s pro-style system prepared Jones for the NFL. With that being said, some said the only reason Jones was good involved the future NFL talent that surrounded him.
But this didn’t seem to bother the Patriots. Jones was the perfect quarterback for New England to turn to, especially if it returned to the offense it ran with Tom Brady.
It appears that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and head coach Bill Belichick may go back to a more pro-style offense rather than running the run-play option they did with Newton.
Can Cam Newton bounce back?
Many thought the Patriots got a steal when Newton arrived in New England. The former NFL MVP looked primed to have a breakout year and lead the Patriots back to the playoffs.
But nagging injuries, including Newton testing positive for COVID-19, as well as poor play on the field, made his first season in New England a disappointment.
During a few games, Newton struggled so badly that he was even benched. But according to some reports, Newton is ready to reaffirm his position as starting quarterback.
It may be too late. Jones has firmly caught the eye of the coaching staff. They might be more willing to roll the dice with him at quarterback this season.
If the Patriots want to get back to the playoffs, their best bet may be to ride the back of a rookie quarterback.