After watching QB Cam Newton look the best he has in a New England Patriots uniform on Thursday night, its clear what Cam needed to kick into high gear: competition. Going into last season there were a lot of weird circumstances thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, including limited playing time prior to the season, but the #1 thing Cam didn’t have was a legitimate threat to take his starting job. There was talk about QB Jared Stidham and a desire from most fans to give him a shot, but the Patriots coaching staff apparently vehemently disagreed and had already given up on him. This year, with all the attention on 1st round pick QB Mac Jones, Cam came into camp motivated to earn his spot as the starter and prove everyone wrong.
After the first preseason game, all the talk and attention was on Mac and his impressive debut performance despite Cam having a solid few series as the starter. There were tons of articles (including this one) that were pushing for, or suggesting that, Mac had taken the lead in the QB competition. By all accounts, Mac is working his butt off and is impressing people in training camp and it seems as if Cam took Mac’s strong performance last week as a challenge. I think it’s highly unlikely, barring injury, that Mac would start week one regardless of Cam’s preseason numbers, but that doesn’t mean Cam doesn’t have something to prove to himself, coaches, and fans. In two series, Cam went 8/9 for 103 yards and a TD, but most surprisingly to anyone who watched him last year, he completed passes for 28, 23, and 18 yards.
Mac also had a great night, stringing together two great performances to start his NFL career. He took the team literally from end zone to end zone, completed several clutch 3rd down throws and continued to look calm, cool, and collected. He finished 13/19 for 146 yards and threw some really strong balls, including one that was a perfect deep pass dropped into the hands of WR N’Keal Harry that he somehow failed to catch.
The biggest diffence between week 1 and 2 of the preseason? This week the story is about Cam’s great performance. All things are looking up for Patriots QBs right now.