The Patriots appear to have a pair of viable options to start at quarterback in Cam Newton and rookie Mac Jones.
Both QBs performed well in New England’s second preseason matchup against Philadelphia on Thursday. Newton completed 8-of-9 passes for 103 yards with a touchdown. Jones finished 13-of-19 for 146 yards, leading three scoring drives.
Speaking to the media on Sunday, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was asked if he knows who the Week One starter will be and if there’s a timeline to make that choice. But McDaniels essentially stated the status quo — Newton is the starter for now.
“I know this is going to sound silly, but I haven’t really worried about it,” McDaniels said, via Ryan Hannable of NESN. “I think that decision from Bill [Belichick] will be made when the time is right to make it. Cam certainly is the starter now, and he has done a good job. He has gone in there, he played well the other night. He’s practiced well. But, I know those guys are really competing hard and we’re giving them an opportunity to compete and play a lot of football.
“… I am very pleased with the effort that we’re putting in at the quarterback position, the improvements we’re making, and the way that we’re attempting to run the offense. Everything isn’t perfect. We still have a long way to go and things we can work on and improve and make better, but I think the desire to do it, the way we want to do it to the standard that we’re trying to hold them to I think is right where we want it to be.”
So there is still no guarantee that Newton will be the Patriots’ QB1 to open the season. But what appears unlikely is the possibility that New England could play both quarterbacks. McDaniels was asked about that on Sunday and said, “I haven’t thought about it at all.”
“Honestly, our focus is on trying to get them to do everything that they are practicing or doing in the games to the best of their ability, and seeing them improve and focusing on the things where maybe this is an area we need to get better at,” McDaniels said. “I have not stopped for one second to think about how to utilize multiple people in the same game. I am encouraged by all our quarterbacks in terms of the way they are working, some of the things they have been able to do in our competitive practices, and some of the things they have done in the preseason games. I am encouraged by that.
“But, we have a lot of work ahead of us this week, a great opportunity to get better both on our own and against the Giants and then following it up in the game on Sunday night. I am excited to do that and that is where my focus is.”