Patriots

Louis Riddick explained why ‘it’s just a matter of time’ before Mac Jones wins the quarterback competition with Cam Newton

"There's a reason why Bill sat and waited for Mac Jones."

Patriots quarterback competition
Mac Jones throws during Patriots OTAs while Brian Hoyer and Cam Newton watch. Steven Senne/AP

The Patriots continue to explore the unfamiliar territory of a post-Tom Brady era as Bill Belichick’s team heads into the start of 2021 training camp with a legitimate quarterback competition.

Last season’s starter, Cam Newton, returns in the hopes of keeping his place atop the depth chart. Meanwhile, first round pick Mac Jones enters the picture with high expectations, and the opportunity to compete for a starting role.

“I think of all [the quarterback competitions], that’s the most organic, true [and] open competition,” noted ESPN football analyst Louis Riddick during “Get Up!” on Monday. “May the best man win here.”

On one hand, Riddick thinks New England will see an improved version of Newton, who struggled to complete passes for much of 2020. The 32-year-old former MVP threw just eight touchdowns in his first season with the Patriots against 10 interceptions.

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“I believe Cam will be much better than he was last year,” Riddick explained. “New England believes the same thing, otherwise they wouldn’t have brought him back. Just common sense leads you to believe that Cam will be much better.”

But Riddick, who correctly predicted the Patriots’ free agent frenzy before it happened during the offseason, also thinks Jones has a real chance to win the starting job.

“There’s a reason why Bill sat and waited for Mac Jones,” said Riddick, who played for Belichick with the Browns from 1993-1995. “I think all the things that make Mac who he is have been things that he’s already put on display in the short time that he’s been up there. Now from a physical standpoint, when the volume becomes even heavier, and it becomes 11 vs. 11 and he starts playing preseason games, can he take the next step? Does he give this football team the best chance to score points, protect the football, not be the reason that they lose games, but contribute to the reason why they win games.

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“If he does that,” Riddick added, “he’ll be the starter Week 1.”

And while Newton might prevail in the short term, Riddick sees Jones installing himself as the starter at some point during the regular season.

“I think for me, it’s just a matter of time,” said Riddick. “It’s just a matter of time before they put [Jones] in there.”

One possibility is that Jones could be New England’s No. 1 in time for the anticipated return of Brady to Foxborough in Week 4 on Oct. 3.

“I’d like to see it even before they play Tampa Bay. I think that would be a huge story for the rookie to be starting that game.”

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