Cam Newton was the first quarterback up for the New England Patriots against the Washington Football team, playing eleven snaps over two series. After the second drive, he handed the reins over to Mac Jones.
The Patriots’ first-round draft pick saw more action than the starter and was on the field for a total of 32 snaps; Jones took the field in the late first period and played his final snap in the late third. In between, he showcased the traits why New England felt confident investing the 15th overall selection this year in him.
Jones threw some impressive passes in his first ever NFL game, and also showed plenty of poise in the pocket. His performance prompted them an ahead of him on the depth chart to praise him after the contest.
“For him to come out there, I know he came to me and talked to me and we talked it out about just his expectation,” Newton said after the Patriots’ 22-13 victory.
“Every young quarterback goes through it — the excitement, the anticipation. He wants to be so perfect, and I see his preparation is always pristine. That’s what I admire about him. Being at such a young age, he knows how to prepare and knows when Josh [McDaniels] asks quick questions or when a person asks quick questions he knows how to have answers for it.”
The rookie did not have all the answers in his preseason debut against Washington, but he appeared to be ready for the spotlight. Jones went 13-for-19 as a passer and gained 87 yards through the air; he also had one successful throw negated by an erroneous incompletion call before seeing a potential deep touchdown glance off Kristian Wilkerson’s hands.
And while he may not have done enough to challenge Newton’s standing as the current QB1, he did gain some valuable experience after exclusively going against his teammates so far in training camp.
“Everybody is different. Everybody learns different,” Newton said about Jones. “For him and today’s performance, he’s just going to keep getting better, and we’re going to be here for each other along this whole process, and that’s what we’re here for.”
The two quarterbacks will need a quick turnaround, with the next challenge already awaiting them. New England will hold joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles this coming week.