After Sunday’s preseason finale against the Giants, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said he hadn’t decided on a starting quarterback for the season opener against the Dolphins.
Momentum in the competition between incumbent starter Cam Newton and this year’s 15th overall pick Mac Jones seems to have swung toward the rookie, particularly after Newton missed three days of practice last week due to a “misunderstanding” about COVID-19 testing protocols. But when asked a series of questions on Monday morning about the looming choice, Belichick’s answers boiled down to, “We’ll do what’s best for the team.”
Does Belichick have to make that decision soon because the playing styles are so different?
“I feel like whatever we do in the next couple days, like every day, should be what’s best for our football team and that’s what we’ll try to do,” Belichick said in his press conference.
Is there potentially a competitive advantage to not publicly stating who the quarterback will be in Week One?
“Well, would it be best for the team to know what the situation is at certain positions? We’ll do what’s best for the team,” Belichick said.
Newton finished Sunday’s game 2-of-5 passing for 10 yards with an interception. Jones was 10-of-14 for 156 yards and a touchdown.
Overall Jones received significantly more preseason snaps than Newton, which Belichick noted was by design.
“That’s true in a lot of situations,” Belichick said. “Players that have played a long time got fewer snaps. And players that haven’t played as much — rookie players, younger players — got more snaps. And again, you balance off the game snaps with the practice snaps. So, again, it’s a big composite, it’s not any one thing, one play, one day. We have a volume of work to look at and that’s what we’re going to do. That’s what we want to do.”
Miami head coach Brian Flores worked for New England for over a decade, so he has some understanding of how the Patriots could go about naming — or not publicly naming — a starter. Either way, Flores and the Dolphins should have plenty to think about when preparing for their Week One opponent.