Dan Orlovsky isn’t expecting the Patriots to take it slow with Mac Jones.
Jones last week became the first quarterback drafted in Round 1 by New England in the Bill Belichick era. The Patriots obviously are hopeful Jones can be their franchise quarterback of the future, but Belichick after the selection of the Alabama product made it clear that Cam Newton still sits atop New England’s QB depth chart.
Newton most likely will see the majority of first-team reps when the Patriots open training camp this summer. But Orlovsky believes it will be Jones under center for New England come the start of the regular season.
” … I think this selection of Mac Jones tells me that Josh McDaniels and the Patriots want to go back to their old-school offense a little bit, the offense that they ran for obviously such a long time with Tom Brady, OK?” Orlovsky said Monday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “I think the second thing is, this football team is going to be a ground-and-pound football team. This is a top-five offense in the NFL and they are going to run the rock. Now, when you do that, third-down becomes paramount. Third-and-five or less, it’s going to be about decision-making and accuracy. You’re going to have to continue to make those third-down throws to continue to keep the ball on the field and I think that’s where Mac Jones will have a distinct advantage versus Cam Newton.
“I don’t believe New England’s going into the season with multiple types of schemes offensively. One, we could use Cam as a runner and one, you’re obviously not going to do Mac Jones. This is going to be a running football team. Two tight ends, play-action pass and the most important down is going to be third down to them, quarterback-wise. Mac Jones will have the advantage in that. I think Mac Jones should be their Day 1 starter. I think Mac Jones will be their Day 1 starter.”
From an experience standpoint alone — both in the Patriots’ offense and at the NFL level, in general — Newton probably should be New England’s Week 1 starter. But given how the 2020 campaign panned out, Belichick and Co. should have a very, very short leash with Newton and be ready and willing to hand the keys over to the rookie.
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