Jones beat Cam Newton for the starting quarterback job during training camp and the preseason, up to the point where the Patriots rathered just release the former MVP instead of having him around as a backup.
Needless to say, that decision raised some eyebrows around the NFL. Not to take anything from Jones and his hard work and talent, but it's not too often that a team starting a rookie quarterback makes the playoffs.
Former Patriots Tight End Jermaine Wiggins Says Bill Belichick Made A Mistake By Starting Cam Jones
That's why former Patriots tight end Jermaine Wiggins thinks that Bill Belichick made a big mistake by giving Jones the starting job right away. Per Wiggins, rookie quarterbacks tend to struggle because they need to learn a lot of things on the go:
(Transcript via NBC Sports Boston)
“I think it’s a huge mistake and it has the potential to be really ugly. The fact that you’re handing the keys to your organization to a rookie, on a team that we all expected based on what they did in the offseason has got to be a playoff-caliber football team. Every rookie quarterback is going to deal with growing pains, is going to deal with, you know what, now I’m in the NFL, it’s no longer preseason. They’re the disguising coverages, they’re blitzing, they’re doing all types of things that I’ve never seen before. And it’s just gonna take time for Mac to see certain things.
And guess what? The time that it might take might be the difference between wins and losses, and the pressure that you’re putting on this kid, on a team that is expected to make the postseason based on the players that they have in that locker room. If he comes out and he plays bad, you don’t think all eyes are gonna be on him in the media? And there might be some guys in that locker room going, well, did you make the right decision? Did we rush this kid in too early to play?
That’s the only issue that I have when you’re dealing with a rookie quarterback and basically saying we have a playoff team. You don’t know how that’s gonna affect them if things tend to go wrong or if there tend to be issues with (what) most rookie quarterbacks to deal with."
Wiggins makes perfect sense with his arguments and the truth is that perhaps the Patriots could've kept Newton around just in case Jones struggled to figure out things right away. But hey, Belichick isn't the one to do things halfhearted or without giving it a lot of thought.
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