Cam Newton appeared to solidify his hold on the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback job in a 35-0 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
Newton started and went 8-of-9 for 103 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions before being replaced by rookie Mac Jones.
Jones, a first-round pick from Alabama, was 13-of-19 for 146 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
“Cam, Mac, I believe we’re all getting better,” said Jakobi Meyers, who caught a 28-yard Newton touchdown throw in the first quarter. “Last year, [Cam] got the short end of the stick, with no preseason and all. I’m not trying to excuse him, but I think we’ve all grown as an offense this year.”
Belichick has stated that Newton is the starter, but that if Jones is ready to compete, he will be evaluated.
Jones is a competitor, as his first drive early in the second quarter Thursday night covered 17 plays, 91 yards, and took 9:04 before rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson scored from 1 yard. On third-and-13, he connected with receiver N’Keal Harry for a 19-yard gain.
“That’s not really a surprise,” said Meyers, who had three catches for 56 yards. “They expected that when they drafted him.”
A week previously, the Eagles had practiced twice against the Patriots, so they had a level of familiarity with their opponent.
When asked about Newton’s second season with the Patriots and if he’s still learning about him, Belichick said “the season’s really early here.” “I think we’re making progress,” he admitted.
Except for a late fumble by Stevenson, Newton remarked “it was pretty much a flawless night offensively.”
The Patriots will train with the Giants in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Wednesday and Thursday before facing them in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Aug. 29.