Patriots stock up, stock down in 2021 preseason: Cam Newton starting to fall as Mac Jones is hot on his tail

The New England Patriots will put a bow on their exhibition season after they play host to the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. With the preseason nearing its finish, we’re solely going to get yet another have a look at gamers earlier than the motion unfolds for actual within the common season. This offers a few of them one final likelihood to persuade the teaching employees that they’re both worthy of being part of the opening 53-man roster or just solidifying their position for the upcoming 12 months. 

With two preseason contests within the books already, we do have an excellent grasp of the place issues stand with a variety of Patriots, which leads us to our experiment for at this time. As we gear up for the summer time finale, we’re going to check out the place a variety of Patriots are trending. Once more, that is merely a snapshot of the place issues stand presently and this closing preseason contest might swing the pendulum positively or negatively for these gamers relying on how they carry out. 

Should you talked to me a couple of days in the past, Newton can be trending upward. Nevertheless, with this newest “misunderstanding” concerning the COVID protocols that compelled him out of form for the majority of the week, it is onerous to take a look at these developments as something apart from a detrimental. Newton is coming off a powerful preseason efficiency in opposition to the Eagles that ought to have solidified him the Week 1 job, however he is now left the door open for rookie Mac Jones to presumably make critical headway in that competitors. When on the sector this preseason, Newton has been strong, finishing 12 of his 16 cross makes an attempt for 152 yards and a landing. That Eagles sport in Week 2 was particularly sturdy for Newton’s deep ball, which is encouraging after a 2020 marketing campaign the place he struggled in that space. Regardless of that promise of a extra environment friendly 2021, nonetheless, this newest COVID pace bump definitely does not instill a ton of confidence heading into the finale. 

Up: Mac Jones, quarterback

Even with out this improvement surrounding Newton, Jones was placing collectively a formidable preseason. His strong play in apply translated onto the taking part in subject the place he is accomplished 26 of his 38 cross makes an attempt (68.4%) for 233 yards via the 2 contests. You can additionally argue that Jones ought to have a few passing touchdowns to his identify had it not been for his receivers dropping the throw (Kristian Wilkerson in Week 1, N’Keal Harry in Week 2). Jones has additionally drawn reward from Josh McDaniels for his capability to digest what the Patriots need to do pre-snap, highlighting how far alongside he already is in main the McDaniels’ system. With Newton sidelined, Jones will see prolonged work with the first-team offense, which is one thing that is been missing over his preseason. If he can impress with those, it might go a good distance in direction of him ultimately leaping Newton on the depth chart, presumably as quickly because the opener, given this newest COVID protocol debacle. 

Who would be the Patriots’ beginning quarterback this season? Can Mac Jones unseat Cam Newton? And what does it imply for the remainder of the Patriots’ gamers? Download the CBS Sports app to find out! Plus, get insight from our resident Patriots insider, Tyler Sullivan. If you have already got the CBS Sports activities app, make certain to select the Patriots as your favourite staff for up-to-the-minute news.

For a minute, it seemed like we’ve got could a kicker competitors at Patriots camp. Undrafted rookie Quinn Nordin opened eyes within the preseason opener in opposition to Washington, hitting all three of his subject objectives on the evening, which included a 50-yarder. Nordin was unable to switch that optimistic momentum heading into New England’s second preseason contest in opposition to Philadelphia the place he missed certainly one of his two field-goal makes an attempt and two further factors. To make issues a bit tougher for Nordin, veteran kicker Nick Folk did return to apply this week after lacking the primary two contests, which can possible restrict his publicity within the finale. 

There’s arguably no offensive player that improved his inventory extra this summer time than rookie operating again Rhamondre Stevenson. Upon arrival to coaching camp, the early lowlights for Stevenson included him failing his bodily and operating backs coach Ivan Fears telling reporters that he wanted to enhance on every thing. Quick-forward a couple of weeks and he is been dominant popping out the backfield. Via two preseason matchups, the Oklahoma product has collected 193 dashing yards on 7.72 yards per carry and 4 touchdowns. He additionally caught certainly one of his two targets within the passing sport for eight yards. With Damien Harris and James White additionally within the fold, it is going to be attention-grabbing to see how the Patriots will resolve to divvy up the snaps, however Stevenson’s play this summer time has definitely put him ready to have a job in 2021. 

Down: N’Keal Harry, extensive receiver 

N’Keal Harry was one of many extra intriguing gamers to observe this preseason for the Patriots. Not solely was the third-year receiver seeking to lastly reside as much as his first-round draft standing, however he beforehand requested a commerce out of New England previous to camp. No such commerce has come about but and it does not appear to be one shall be sprouting up anytime quickly due to the receiver’s well being. Within the win over the Eagles final week, Harry left the competition attributable to harm after attempting to increase and haul in a deep throw from Mac Jones. Now, it is being reported that Harry will miss the following 4 weeks after struggling a shoulder harm. Whereas Harry has proven a bit extra playmaking capability in apply, it has but to actually present up within the preseason. To date, he is caught two of his three targets for 23 yards. For a second it seemed like he was constructing in direction of a powerful 12 months in 2021 — irrespective of the place he’d finally be taking part in — however now his future is simply as clouded because it was when he first stepped on the sector earlier this summer time. 

Jakobi Meyers continues to take optimistic strides in his improvement. As we close to the preseason finale, the Patriots main receiver from a 12 months in the past seems like he’ll hold that upward trajectory going as he heads into his third season within the league. To date, he is caught 4 of his six targets for 67 yards and a landing. Whereas Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor together with tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry will issue into the Patriots passing assault this season, Meyers ought to show to be an especially vital piece, particularly early on within the 12 months as these new additions proceed to get snug within the offense. That indisputable fact that he is already in sturdy type, ought to imply one other profession 12 months for the N.C. State product. 

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