However the offense takes shape, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, the team’s highest-paid and most established weapons, will be featured. They are the rock upon which Bill Belichick has rebuilt his offense. And offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels isn’t discouraged whatsoever by their lack of time together this summer.
The story went on to say signing Henry and Smith was an organizational recommitment to reclaiming the middle of the field, where the Patriots have drawn battle lines for two decades. Belichick has preached winning between the numbers since his days coaching in Cleveland. If Henry and Smith succeed in the box and down the seam, Jones will thrive. Smith and Henry were banged up a lot during camp and missed valuable time, so it remains to be seen how quick the team can turn to this offense and have success. We have Smith ranked higher but, based on this story, it's possible Henry could turn into a sneaky pick and play this season.
The quarterback battle in New England has officially ended. According to Jim McBride of The Boston Globe, the Patriots have released veteran quarterback Cam Newton. This comes as all NFL teams are required to trim down their preseason rosters to the opening 53 men. With Newton gone, this now points to first-round rookie Mac Jones -- who competed with Newton this summer -- being named the starter to begin the 2021 regular season.
It wasn't that long ago the Patriots said someone would have to pass Newton in camp to earn the starting job. But it was just over the weekend where the team changed their tune, saying decisions needed to be made about the starting QB job among other positions. We considered Newton a sneaky pick, figuring he had a little more upside than most first-round QB picks usually offer. Now Jones takes over. He looked impressive at times but will likely take some lumps this season as most rookies do. But he'll at least offer lower-end QB2 fantasy value and could enter the streaming conversation if the Patriots are more pass-heavy than expected. He doesn't offer much as a runner, though. Damien Harris gets a bump due to higher touchdown expectations but he hasn't had much of a role in the passing game. That's James White's role, and Rhamondre Stevenson and J.J. Taylor have produced in camp as well. Jakobi Meyers may be able to produce fantasy WR3 numbers with Jones at quarterback, while Jonnu Smith seems to be best positioned to make a run at TE1 numbers.
It wasn't that long ago that Belichick said someone would have to pass Newton to win the starting job. We considered Newton a sneaky pick in fantasy drafts this year and we think he offers more of an upside. While this could be coach-speak, anything is possible in New England.
Newton left the New England area for a club-approved medical appointment but there was a misunderstanding about the COVID tests conducted away from NFL facilities, according to the statement. Newton can return on Thursday, after the mandatory five-day period. Jones will get extra snaps at a key point of camp, but the Patriots recently indicated no one has passed Newton for the starting QB job so far in camp.