Starting Mac Jones is the latest of Bill Belichick’s trademark risky calls
I thought of that moment Tuesday morning, when Belichick named rookie Mac Jones as his starting quarterback and released Cam Newton. Cheap 4 Stidham Jarrett NFL Jerseys, For all of Belichick’s genius and faults, he has always refused to make CYA moves Cheap New England Patriots NFL Jerseys, . What’s more, decisions that most of us would consider CYA moves are simple to hi Discount NFL Jerseys China, m. It was simple when he started Brady over Bledsoe, simple when he released Lawyer Milloy in 2003 — simple when he moved on from countless superstars, risking public backla Wholesale NFL Jerseys, sh. Many presume the benefit of his degree from Wesleyan comes in the complicated arithmetic of the salary cap era, but in reality, the thing it taught Belichick is how to problem solve — how to eliminate variables and clutter and view an issue in the simplest possible terms, regardless of how controversial it might seem to the outside world.
On first glance, this one seems as controversial as they come. I was one of many who thought that Cam Newton would at least begin the season as the starter, at least until the COVID-19 protocol “misunderstanding” of the past week. Those familiar with Belichick’s thinking believe that, in a perfect world, the coach would have preferred to let Newton start the season and see how he performed, showing patience both with Newton, who labored through a brutal season last year when he missed throws he used to hit in his sleep, and with Jones, giving him time to learn the game and watch from the sidelines. Newton’s issue with the protocols certainly didn’t help, but the former No. 1 overall pick and league MVP lost his job the old-fashioned way: He was beaten out. Jones, while not perfect — he’s still a rookie — outperformed Newton. According to SIG, the Patriots scored on eight of his 14 drives. He threw no interceptions. Newton was a great teammate and leader for the Patriots, but if you do what Belichick does — if you remove the clutter — it was clear: Jones had proven that he gave them the best chance to win.
Make no mistake: The Patriots do need to win. Tom Brady Sr. was only half-joking when before last year’s Super Bowl he tweaked Belichick to the Boston Herald by saying that he was now “on a little bit of a hot seat.” Belichick had been willing to let Brady walk, with no long-term plan to replace him. Robert Kraft publicly admitted that Belichick’s recent drafts were not the “greatest job the last few years.” Belichick has never been one to make many excuses, but during last year’s 7-9 season he did — sort of. To explain the struggles, he admitted in the middle of the season that the team had “sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth, and played in an AFC Championship Game. This year we have less to work with. It’s not an excuse. It’s just a fact.” This year, the team has more to work with — on paper. And Belichick is putting the ball in a rookie’s hands. One will presume that unless it goes poorly or there’s an injury, Jones will start against Brady when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers arrive on Oct. 3.
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