Patriots

Cam Newton starts preseason finale, but Bill Belichick says Patriots ‘still have a lot of decisions to make’

The Patriots beat the Giants 22-20 in their preseason finale.

Patriots quarterback starter
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton passes the ball to Patriots quarterback Mac Jones during a joint NFL football practice with the New York Giants. AP Photo/Steven Senne

The Patriots still haven’t decided who will be their starter at quarterback when the season kicks off on Sept. 12, but they offered a hint on Sunday in their 22-20 victory over the Giants.

Cam Newton started and was just 2-for-5 passing with an interception. He played just a few snaps with the starting line before Mac Jones entered the game with the back-ups. Newton, it seems, is in the driver’s seat despite last week’s absence.

Still, Bill Belichick steadfastly refuses to officially name his starter at this stage.

“We still have a lot of decisions to make,” Belichick said.

Asked what he will be looking for when he makes his decision, Belichick remained evasive.

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“We’ll be focused on preparing for Miami, so that’s what we’ll do,” he said.

Newton might be the starter, but Mac Jones played well on Sunday. He threw the first touchdown pass of his preseason career and put together a 10-for-14 performance with 156 yards and a touchdown.

After Jones’s touchdown, Newton came running over to high-five the rookie. Jones — who looked locked in — kept walking, and Newton kept following him waiting for his high-five.

“I didn’t hear him or see him,” Jones said, with a smile. “I was like, ‘Oh my bad!’ But that’s Cam for you. He’s happy, and he’s a great teammate. I’m happy to be in the same room as him and learn from him, because he’s a great dude.”

Newton and Jones have spoken glowingly of each other throughout the preseason.

“I think we just have good conversations,” Jones said on Sunday. “He’s a big mentor for me.”

Jones was asked if he believes he’s done enough to earn the starting job. He talked about his areas of improvement, noting he held on to the ball a little too long in Sunday’s game.

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“I’ve got a lot of opportunities to play, and I can improve on everything I want to improve on,” Jones said. “I think just learning from [Brian] Hoyer, Cam, Jarrett [Stidham], anybody I can, and just listening to Josh [McDaniels] and his coaching, there’s a lot of work to do.

“I think I’ve made progress, but honestly the only thing that matters is today, and then tomorrow, I’ll focus on tomorrow. But I think the past is the past, and we’re kind of moving on to the new season.”

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