Patriots

Morning sports update: Keyshawn Johnson thinks Cam Newton will be the Patriots’ starter through the 2021 season

"It's simple and plain, it's Cam Newton."

Cam Newton Mac Jones
Mac Jones throwing during Patriots OTAs with Cam Newton in the background. AP Photo/Steven Senne

Tonight, the Celtics host the Nets at TD Garden in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference first-round series at 8:30 p.m. Brooklyn leads the series 2-0.

The Red Sox open a three-game series against the Marlins at 7:10 p.m.

And Boston College women’s lacrosse face North Carolina in the NCAA Final Four today at 12 p.m.

On Saturday, the Bruins begin a second-round playoff series against the Islanders at 8 p.m.

Also on Saturday, the Revolution face FC Cincinnati at 3 p.m.

Keyshawn Johnson on the Patriots’ quarterback competition: While Patriots’ 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones looked “as advertised” at OTAs on Thursday, he was still the second quarterback up in each of the team’s quarterback drills.

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Cam Newton, New England’s starter in 2020, led the way. Still, the ongoing competition between Newton and Jones will likely become a major storyline for the team in 2021.

Asked on Thursday about who will be the Patriots’ starting quarterback to open the season, former wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson (now an ESPN analyst) said the choice is clear.

“It’s simple and plain, it’s Cam Newton,” said Johnson during an episode of NFL Live. “I understand the sexiness of drafting Mac Jones with the 15th pick of the draft, but let’s be real with ourselves: They didn’t go out in the offseason and do all those moves, much like Adam Schefter said, to give way to Mac Jones.”

Johnson also believes that Newton will be the starter throughout the 2021 season.

“I don’t see where Mac Jones steps on the field unless there’s an injury this year,” he explained.

When challenged by ESPN colleague Tim Hasselbeck about Newton’s viability as a consistent starter, Johnson pushed back.

“Let me ask you this,” Johnson replied to Hasselbeck. “Every analyst that I can think of during the season last year sat on national television and said, ‘They’re not going to sign Cam Newton back. Oh they don’t like Cam. Cam’s out of there.'”

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“What’s the first thing the New England Patriots did?” Johnson continued. “They signed Cam Newton back. Whether it was a one year, a five year, a six year minimum. Whatever the case is, they signed him back because they saw what I saw, which is he had nothing around him, he struggled, let’s give him a real opportunity to show that he can do it. To me, that’s speaks volumes.”

Trivia: Keyshawn Johnson was the first overall pick of the 1996 NFL Draft. Three players in the first round of that draft went on to make the Hall of Fame. Johnson, despite totaling over 10,000 receiving yards in his career, is not one of them. Can you name the three Hall of Fame players from that year’s first round?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: Offensive lineman, wide receiver, linebacker.

More from Boston.com:

David Pastrnak breaks down his Game 5 goal against the Capitals:

On this day: In 2008, Kevin Garnett scored 33 points, Ray Allen went 5-6 from 3-point range, and Rajon Rondo dished 13 assists with four steals as the Celtics defeated the Pistons 106-102 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Boston would go on to win the series in six games, with the season culminating in an NBA title.

Daily highlight: Santos Laguna goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo made a diving save to keep out an equally spectacular effort from Cruz Azul striker Jonathan Rodríguez’s bicycle kick. Cruz Azul won the first of the two Clausura Final legs, 1-0.

Trivia answer: Jonathan Ogden, Marvin Harrison, Ray Lewis

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