Patriots coach Bill Belichick did not provide any details on Wednesday about his decision to release quarterback Cam Newton and make rookie Mac Jones the starting quarterback heading into the 2021 season.
Belichick spoke only in generalities about the process the team used to reduce its roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players on Tuesday. He was asked if any thought was given to keeping Newton on the team in a backup role.
“I’m not going to go through all the different things with any player on that,” he said. “We’ll just leave it the way it is, and go from there.”
He was asked if it a difficult decision to choose Jones over Newton?
“I don’t rank them. We make decisions and then we execute them and go on and take it from there,” Belichick said.
Jones had three practice days before the final preseason game as the top quarterback in camp because Newton was sidelined by COVID protocols. Belichick was asked if that gave Jones an advantage.
“I don’t know,” Belichick said.
Belichick also said Newton’s vaccination status was not a factor in his release. Newton would not have been subject to the COVID protocols he was in last week if he had been vaccinated.
Belichick praised Jones, who was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in April after winning a national championship at Alabama.
“He’s had a high level of production. I feel like he’s shown an ability to do things the way we want them done at a productive level,” Belichick said. “That’s why we drafted him and I think he’s come in and performed at a level that supports that.”
The Patriots begin the regular season on Sept. 12 vs. the Miami Dolphins.
“There’s a lot of movement still to go [with the roster]. I think it would be inappropriate to comment on some positions that are still in the process of … that are not at the final point yet,” Belichick said.
“I’m sure in the next few days some of that movement on other teams may or may not affect us, we’ll see how that goes.”
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