Pats Preseason: QB Edition

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Harry Hooper

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Bedard has a piece up on the QBs:

Newton clearly has more comfort in the system and is playing more loosely.
"He just knows much more about we’re doing. It’s a lot less new learning everyday, more repetition of things he already understands. That would be true for I think every player I have ever coached in their second year in our system. Things slow down. Things make more sense," said McDaniels. "There were things I was telling him to do last year that he didn’t quite understand, but I was telling him, ‘Hey, do it this way. Try and do it that way. Make him the Mike, whatever.’ He was trying to do everything I said. Now, he actually understands the why on most things. That is really the goal for the quarterbacks — when you’re out there trying to read defenses on a play-to-play basis, if you don’t understand why we’re doing something or why you’re supposed to make the protection slide here or there, it’s a tough position to play. The game has slowed down for him. The offense makes a lot of sense. Like I said, there’s a lot less new learning for him.”

He has stretches where you're like, 'Hey, that looked pretty good.' That even happens on his worst practice days. Certainly, the running aspects help him and he looks comfortable.
...
The bad news for Newton is that Jones appears to be a sponge and is getting better, largely, each day and from rep to rep. The ball comes out much quicker and his decisions are better. If that continues, then Jones could win the job. But Newton is also getting more comfortable. There's a long way to go in this.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Mike Reiss wrote about the QBs this morning.

https://www.espn.com/blog/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4823523/patriots-qbs-mac-jones-overcomes-adversity-cam-newton-a-model-teammate

After a tough practice Tuesday, Jones responded with two days in which he nearly doubled Cam Newton in repetitions, and the passing offense had its most consistent success. That seemed significant. It wasn't just that Jones seemed to hit his groove while finding a more assertive voice. It's that it came after arguably his lowest point in camp.

Jones said he sensed a shift last week between himself and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

"I feel like I'm trying and starting to get to where we're kind of thinking on the same page," Jones said. "And that's how it has to be every day."
Two different offenses: There have been two full-pads practices, and in those sessions, it sometimes looks like the team is running two separate attacks. The threat of Newton as a ball carrier with the read-option is prevalent -- and effective at times -- while Jones often looks like he's running the more traditional Patriots passing offense.
They are going to try to maximize Newton's strengths when he is out there, and they aren't going to rush Jones into the starting job. But, at the end of the day, Jones is what the Pats want in a QB, and if and when he shows that he's up for the job, it will be his.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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Jones looked as good as you can hope for a rookie making his 1st NFL appearance. Final line:

13 for 19 / 87 yards / 4.6 avg / 1 sack / 78.2 rating

The most encouraging part was that he looked really comfortable out there. Mac also adjusted protection better than Cam ever has. Even most of the misses were drops or catches that better receivers would have made.

I know, It's so early but I am sold.
 

BaseballJones

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Jones didn’t throw much beyond 10 yards but I liked the accuracy. And the deep ball on third and long to Gunner was *thisclose* to being completed.
 

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There are some games where you think a QB played better than his stat line. I don’t know why Herbert’s final game vs Auburn while he was QB at Oregon comes to mind but that’s one where if you watched it and didn’t see the stat line you’d say he played well. It if you saw the stats later you’d think oh that doesn’t look so hot. Mac adjusted to pressure, he looked off linebackers to clear space in the middle and he threw with good anticipation and accuracy in general. That bomb to Wilkerson and the one so close to Gunner remind me of the best of what he did at Bama with the deep ball. The way he was decisive, quick, and accurate was also very much what we saw with him his last year in college. Overall I was impressed with Mac Jones. I thought Cam was fine. I’m concerned about the receivers but no Agholor and Henry being out (I know he’s a TE but he still catches things) doesn’t help.
 

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We've heard he's a quick learner--I'm very interested to see NEXT game.
 

rodderick

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Looked better to my non-expert eye test than Jimmy G did his first pre-season.
Jimmy's first preseason game was better, in my view. I'm really encouraged by what I saw from Mac, but Jimmy threw the ball deeper in his debut, he had like 12 yards per attempt with a TD in 2014, everyone was incredibly excited about him after that game. Either way, the main thing that impressed me with Mac is just how comfortable he looked. There was very little indecisiveness and while ball placement wasn't always great, I can't recall him forcing a throw once. The way this team is constructed, that might be all they need to be competitive.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Jones has a way to go, but it seemed like they were really giving him the keys last night. He got to play some with the starters, then he came out in the second half with the backups and ran the no huddle. Did they do that with Jimmy G in his preseason debut?

He didn't address any concerns about arm strength last night but to me he checked most other boxes - on the near TD he looked the safety off, he threw Wilkerson open on another play. A lot of checkdowns, especially with the second unit, but all in all this was a strong debut.

Both he and Newton need to show a lot more to win the starting job, though Newton will get it by default if Jones doesn't win it (as he should). I'd say 2-1 that Newton starts the opener based on what we have seen so far.
 

Captaincoop

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My 12 year old son noticed that the other team was blitzing on that play where Young ended up beating Wynn and getting to Cam. Cam apparently didn't, because he didn't change anything at the line, he dropped back like he was going to have time to go through all his reads, and he didn't feel pressure until he got hit - at which point he fumbled the ball.

That was a great example of what he does to the offense.
 

Super Nomario

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My 12 year old son noticed that the other team was blitzing on that play where Young ended up beating Wynn and getting to Cam. Cam apparently didn't, because he didn't change anything at the line, he dropped back like he was going to have time to go through all his reads, and he didn't feel pressure until he got hit - at which point he fumbled the ball.

That was a great example of what he does to the offense.
They picked up the blitz, Wynn just got worked by Chase Young.
 

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My 12 year old son noticed that the other team was blitzing on that play where Young ended up beating Wynn and getting to Cam. Cam apparently didn't, because he didn't change anything at the line, he dropped back like he was going to have time to go through all his reads, and he didn't feel pressure until he got hit - at which point he fumbled the ball.

That was a great example of what he does to the offense.
I’m sure you and your son have a better eye than me, but I can’t give Cam shit for that. It wasn’t about the formation, Young just flat-out steamrolled Wynn and Cam never had a chance. Neither wouldve Mac, Brady, Lamar Jackson or Red Grange.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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No matter what happens, Cam has been a great teammate & a total professional (as competitive as he must be):

View: https://youtu.be/2-2_vOx1q6Q


The offense really looked much more in control with Jones on there, however.
He’s the best.
Q. “Cam, what did you think of your introduction to Chase Young?”
A. “He’s smaller than I thought. I’m joking! I’m joking!”
 

JokersWildJIMED

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They picked up the blitz, Wynn just got worked by Chase Young.
The sack is on Wynn, but they had seven guys up on the line (including a guy like Young) and Cam is going through his reads, unhurried, paying no particular attention to Young...this is exactly the problem with Cam...he shows a complete lack of both situational (to check out of the play) and pocket awareness...AND he is (nearly) strip sacked.
 

Super Nomario

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The sack is on Wynn, but they had seven guys up on the line (including a guy like Young) and Cam is going through his reads, unhurried, paying no particular attention to Young...this is exactly the problem with Cam...he shows a complete lack of both situational (to check out of the play) and pocket awareness...AND he is (nearly) strip sacked.
It's 3rd and 8, he's got to let something develop. Wynn has to hold up longer than that. Putting the ball on the turf is bad though, even if it was ultimately ruled an incomplete pass.
 
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The sack is on Wynn, but they had seven guys up on the line (including a guy like Young) and Cam is going through his reads, unhurried, paying no particular attention to Young...this is exactly the problem with Cam...he shows a complete lack of both situational (to check out of the play) and pocket awareness...AND he is (nearly) strip sacked.
"Unhurried?" When did he have time to hurry or not? This criticism - and you're not alone - seems super unreasonable to me. And I want Mac to win the job ASAP. Cam is going to start the season, almost definitely, just because of where BB seems to be. Could that change? Sure. But nothing that Cam did last night and nothing that Mac did last night likely moved the needle. Their level of performance was pretty damn similar. It's the STYLE of it - and that matters too - that has me leaning even harder toward Mac's side. And the fact that this is Mac AS A ROOKIE in his first ever action against an opposing NFL defense.
 

Cellar-Door

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The sack is on Wynn, but they had seven guys up on the line (including a guy like Young) and Cam is going through his reads, unhurried, paying no particular attention to Young...this is exactly the problem with Cam...he shows a complete lack of both situational (to check out of the play) and pocket awareness...AND he is (nearly) strip sacked.
It's 3rd and 8, and his blindside lets a guy through in 1.2 seconds. AND the middle got pushed back so he can't step up. That's 100% on the line, 0% on the QB. There was nothing wrong with the play that he should check out of, it's 3rd and 8 so he almost has to throw, the line coverage is right, there is no unblocked man, his line just got manhandled. Should he have checked into the "guys make their blocks" play? And his pocket awareness was fine, he had nowhere to go, and he pulls down the throw rather than force it.

View: https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1425969713251688455
 

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I agree with CellarDoor; that's 100% on Wynn. If he can delay Young for even half a second more, that pass is on its way. In that clip above, it looks like Jonnu is running a crossing pattern where he got inside leverage on 55 and Cam had him in his sights. Cam was in his motion when he gets hit, so it really wouldn't' have taken much longer to get that pass off.
 

BigSoxFan

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It's 3rd and 8, and his blindside lets a guy through in 1.2 seconds. AND the middle got pushed back so he can't step up. That's 100% on the line, 0% on the QB. There was nothing wrong with the play that he should check out of, it's 3rd and 8 so he almost has to throw, the line coverage is right, there is no unblocked man, his line just got manhandled. Should he have checked into the "guys make their blocks" play? And his pocket awareness was fine, he had nowhere to go, and he pulls down the throw rather than force it.

View: https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1425969713251688455
This play reminded me too much of the Brandon Graham SB strip sack.
 

Cellar-Door

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It's gonna be a long season if shit like that is also Cam's fault.
Wait until week 4 when a WR drops a TD and it's because Cam didn't throw it with the right touch. People are going to be deeply irrational about Cam all year.
 

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It looks to my untrained eye that the protection was set correctly - WFT had 6 rushers, the Pats had 6 guys blocking, it was 1:1 across the board. So the bulk of the sack is on Wynn, if not 100%.

The only thing I might fault Cam for on the play is not waving the white flag and just taking the sack. A turnover in that situation is a zillion times worse than a sack and punt.
 

j44thor

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What is Wynn doing on that play besides a turnstile impersonation. Off the snap he is trying to help the LG with a quick punch to the outside shoulder of the interior DL only problem is he is 1-1 with one of the top edge rushers in the NFL and already out of position largely due to that initial jab inside, he then has no chance to recover outside vs. Young.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Does the fact that Cam wears a face covering almost all the time unless in the game mean that he is complying with protocols for unvaccinated? Given the harsh penalties I kind of worry about having the player that is so integral to the team being in that precarious position.

Maybe he is just extra cautious.

(Believe it or not I don’t mean this as a VN vaccination discussion but really am curious from the perspective of what it might mean for the NEP QB situation.)
 

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Chase Young may be the best defensive player in the game and in the regular season I don’t think Wynn is being put on an island to block him on 3rd down.
 

brettzky99

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Does the fact that Cam wears a face covering almost all the time unless in the game mean that he is complying with protocols for unvaccinated? Given the harsh penalties I kind of worry about having the player that is so integral to the team being in that precarious position.

Maybe he is just extra cautious.

(Believe it or not I don’t mean this as a VN vaccination discussion but really am curious from the perspective of what it might mean for the NEP QB situation.)
i agree and think it's pretty clear he's unvaccinated

but i'm not sure he deserves credit for being extra cautious when he never (ever) wears a mask over his nose
 

rodderick

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Does the fact that Cam wears a face covering almost all the time unless in the game mean that he is complying with protocols for unvaccinated? Given the harsh penalties I kind of worry about having the player that is so integral to the team being in that precarious position.

Maybe he is just extra cautious.

(Believe it or not I don’t mean this as a VN vaccination discussion but really am curious from the perspective of what it might mean for the NEP QB situation.)
I think at this point we can say with some certainty he's unvaccinated. Which to me is completely unacceptable at this point, especially from your leader and starting QB. Even Brady with all his pseudo science bullshit is vax'd.
 

lexrageorge

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Chase Young may be the best defensive player in the game and in the regular season I don’t think Wynn is being put on an island to block him on 3rd down.
+1

Sometimes it’s OK to acknowledge that the opponent has varsity players as well. If it happens every game in the regular season, then we have a problem. A preseason sack given up to one of the league’s best pass rushers is in the “shit happens” category.
 

Super Nomario

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Chase Young may be the best defensive player in the game and in the regular season I don’t think Wynn is being put on an island to block him on 3rd down.
Opposing DCs get paid too, and one of the things they get paid to do is scheme up one on ones for their best pass rushers. Your LT is going to have to block great rushers one-on-one sometimes, especially when you get into unfavorable down and distance like that.

Sometimes it’s OK to acknowledge that the opponent has varsity players as well. If it happens every game in the regular season, then we have a problem. A preseason sack given up to one of the league’s best pass rushers is in the “shit happens” category.
I don't think anyone is suggesting we cut Wynn for one bad play against a great player. But it came up in this topic - the QB topic - because people were blaming Cam for it. Which is ridiculous.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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What is Wynn doing on that play besides a turnstile impersonation. Off the snap he is trying to help the LG with a quick punch to the outside shoulder of the interior DL only problem is he is 1-1 with one of the top edge rushers in the NFL and already out of position largely due to that initial jab inside, he then has no chance to recover outside vs. Young.
You get beat sometimes by good players and that's OK. But I think you raise a good question about whether Wynn should be trying to help redirect the interior rusher in that situation when also on an island with somebody like Young. I really have no idea whether that's what he is coached to do in that protection, whether its just a mental/execution error on Wynn's part, or what.
 

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I think for a baseline of what Mac Jones currently is and where he can go......I like what I saw last night. He made quick decisions, was in command of the offense in the hurry-up, and was for the most part in sync with his receivers. He dropped a pass right into the bucket to Wilkerson in the end zone which was dropped but nonetheless a great throw. His overthrow of Gunner late in his action was again the right decision after surveying the field and just missed him. He undoubtedly has a long ways to go, but if he continues to progress like this I would be comfortable with him as the starter this year. In Bill's mind it may not come Week 1, but it should happen at some point this season. This could be a Tua-like situation where at some point in the middle of the year Bill feels comfortable enough handing Mac the reigns even if the team is playing well. I believe that Mac Jones will give this team the best chance to reach it's potential and not Cam. Personally, I'd throw him out there Week 1 if he shows enough improvement in the next couple weeks because defenses will have to respect the passing game more and that will open up more opportunities for the running game to be even better than it was last year. With Cam, I still think teams will be loading up the box not respecting his throwing abilities and that will have adverse effects on the whole offense.
 

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You get beat sometimes by good players and that's OK. But I think you raise a good question about whether Wynn should be trying to help redirect the interior rusher in that situation when also on an island with somebody like Young. I really have no idea whether that's what he is coached to do in that protection, whether its just a mental/execution error on Wynn's part, or what.
Mental error on someone's part, because Wynn helping off a guy like Young (however briefly) rather than getting help on a Young is a shitty idea. I wouldn't read too much into it. They game plan better in the regular season.
 

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Jimmy's first preseason game was better, in my view. I'm really encouraged by what I saw from Mac, but Jimmy threw the ball deeper in his debut, he had like 12 yards per attempt with a TD in 2014, everyone was incredibly excited about him after that game. Either way, the main thing that impressed me with Mac is just how comfortable he looked. There was very little indecisiveness and while ball placement wasn't always great, I can't recall him forcing a throw once. The way this team is constructed, that might be all they need to be competitive.
You’re probably right. I recall watching a couple of Jimmy pre season games and it didn’t seem like he had great pocket presence; scrambling with his back to the line, stepping up in the pocket right into rushers. Mac seemed to have pretty good pocket presence for a rookie last night.
 

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Opposing DCs get paid too, and one of the things they get paid to do is scheme up one on ones for their best pass rushers. Your LT is going to have to block great rushers one-on-one sometimes, especially when you get into unfavorable down and distance like that.


I don't think anyone is suggesting we cut Wynn for one bad play against a great player. But it came up in this topic - the QB topic - because people were blaming Cam for it. Which is ridiculous.
There is just a deep commitment among some to the risible idea the Cam is approximately the worst QB in league history and that BB is a moron for not recognizing that. (The truth is pretty obvious; Cam is a below average passer with some running and leadership value and BB definitely knows that improvement is needed and has spent a first round pick and given that pick valuable reps in an attempt to upgrade on Cam)
 

lexrageorge

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Opposing DCs get paid too, and one of the things they get paid to do is scheme up one on ones for their best pass rushers. Your LT is going to have to block great rushers one-on-one sometimes, especially when you get into unfavorable down and distance like that.
You brought back memories of the epic Bruce Armstrong vs Bruce Smith battles back in the day.
 

DJnVa

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I think for a baseline of what Mac Jones currently is and where he can go......I like what I saw last night. He made quick decisions, was in command of the offense in the hurry-up, and was for the most part in sync with his receivers. He dropped a pass right into the bucket to Wilkerson in the end zone which was dropped but nonetheless a great throw.
Wilkerson makes that catch and Jones night looks like 14/19 121 yards TD.

Good start. Let's see what happens next game.
 

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I don't know if it was a QB issue or an offense in general issue but I wasn't delighted with either of the QBs. Again though this may not have to do with QB play as such but more to do with just what was going on.

This is going to be a run heavy offense that will need to pick up a big pass play when they get stuffed or take a holding penalty. Last year it felt like a false start meant drive over. I didn't see anything to suggest that either quarter back could handle that situation yet. Didn't see much to say they couldn't either. But it seems pretty much TBD.

I thought Mac's internal clock looked poor at times but this is hardly a strength of Cam either. Also, it's early.
 

Super Nomario

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I don't know if it was a QB issue or an offense in general issue but I wasn't delighted with either of the QBs. Again though this may not have to do with QB play as such but more to do with just what was going on.

This is going to be a run heavy offense that will need to pick up a big pass play when they get stuffed or take a holding penalty. Last year it felt like a false start meant drive over. I didn't see anything to suggest that either quarter back could handle that situation yet. Didn't see much to say they couldn't either. But it seems pretty much TBD.

I thought Mac's internal clock looked poor at times but this is hardly a strength of Cam either. Also, it's early.
The offense was not great last night but they were also down Agholor, Henry, and Andrews. So the starting group was mostly the same skill players as last year's lousy group, though Jonnu instead of Ryan Izzo is a nice upgrade.
 

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I don't know if it was a QB issue or an offense in general issue but I wasn't delighted with either of the QBs. Again though this may not have to do with QB play as such but more to do with just what was going on.

This is going to be a run heavy offense that will need to pick up a big pass play when they get stuffed or take a holding penalty. Last year it felt like a false start meant drive over. I didn't see anything to suggest that either quarter back could handle that situation yet. Didn't see much to say they couldn't either. But it seems pretty much TBD.

I thought Mac's internal clock looked poor at times but this is hardly a strength of Cam either. Also, it's early.
I didn't see every snap, but I'm not selling on the passing offense yet. The OL was pretty messed up IMO. We have seen the OL messed up into the October before, and then coming together. Not sure that it says anything about the QBs and WRs right now, but YMMV.
 

RedOctober3829

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I don't know if it was a QB issue or an offense in general issue but I wasn't delighted with either of the QBs. Again though this may not have to do with QB play as such but more to do with just what was going on.

This is going to be a run heavy offense that will need to pick up a big pass play when they get stuffed or take a holding penalty. Last year it felt like a false start meant drive over. I didn't see anything to suggest that either quarter back could handle that situation yet. Didn't see much to say they couldn't either. But it seems pretty much TBD.

I thought Mac's internal clock looked poor at times but this is hardly a strength of Cam either. Also, it's early.
Mac has the ability to handle that situation because he makes quicker reads than Cam. They also didn't have Agholor or Henry so that didn't help either. The deep plays to Wilkerson and Gunner showed me he can have success throwing the ball down the field.
 

Big McCorkle

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Chase Young may be the best defensive player in the game and in the regular season I don’t think Wynn is being put on an island to block him on 3rd down.
Aaron Donald is the best defensive player in the game, period, he's so good that he pretty much generates a free third round comp pick for the Rams every year by making another pass rusher get 10+ sacks and tricking another team into thinking that it wasn't just the result of lining up next to Aaron Donald, but yeah as much as Cam maybe coulda-shoulda seen Young coming and not even tried to get the ball out, and as much as Wynn shouldn't have gotten beaten quite so badly, sometimes Chase Young is going to do that sort of thing sometimes. It's hard to help it.

Jones didn’t throw much beyond 10 yards but I liked the accuracy. And the deep ball on third and long to Gunner was *thisclose* to being completed.
And it doesn't strike me as being particularly easy to hit Gunner on a deep ball. Randy Moss he ain't. And I know this sounds somewhat ridiculous, but he definitely missed it where you'd want to miss it when the coverage is that tight, just beyond the receiver's outstretched hands, rather than underthrowing it and sending it right into the defensive back's greedy little mitts.

With Cam, I still think teams will be loading up the box not respecting his throwing abilities and that will have adverse effects on the whole offense.
It's interesting. On one hand, success running the ball is heavily dependent on how many defenders there are in the box. On the other hand, something that pretty consistently bears out in the stats is that having a running threat as a quarterback greatly helps the efficiency of a runningback (the mechanism seemingly being by opening up running lanes because the defense can't react to just the running back, they also have to try to cover the quarterback). There were five offenses in the NFL last year that managed to produce positive value, or at least positive EPA, when running the ball, namely the Ravens, Titans, Patriots, Packers, and Saints, in that order. The Cardinals were sixth, but slightly negative. You see similar things going back multiple years; the key to having an efficient running game is to either have serious running threats at quarterback (Ravens, Patriots, Cardinals), have an elite passing offense (Titans, Packers), or have one weird outlier game against the Vikings where Alvin Kamara rushes for six touchdowns (Saints.) Other than that, even if you have a running back who's generally considered to be, quote, "good," it's very difficult to have your running offense be positively productive because of the inherent limits to running the football.

So, in all likelihood, it's either a wash or an edge to Cam, unless Mac can lead the team to a top five or so passing offense (in which case the lighter boxes and such are likely enough to swing the pendulum in the other direction). The running game, not just from the quarterback position but also from the runningbacks, will very likely be more productive with him under center. However, running the ball is still not particularly productive and will never be remotely as efficient as a high-end passing game. If Mac provides a substantially better option as a passer, then it will outweigh the value derived from Cam's stature as a running threat. It's just the way the game works.
 

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Aaron Donald is the best defensive player in the game, period, he's so good that he pretty much generates a free third round comp pick for the Rams every year by making another pass rusher get 10+ sacks and tricking another team into thinking that it wasn't just the result of lining up next to Aaron Donald, but yeah as much as Cam maybe coulda-shoulda seen Young coming and not even tried to get the ball out, and as much as Wynn shouldn't have gotten beaten quite so badly, sometimes Chase Young is going to do that sort of thing sometimes. It's hard to help it.


And it doesn't strike me as being particularly easy to hit Gunner on a deep ball. Randy Moss he ain't. And I know this sounds somewhat ridiculous, but he definitely missed it where you'd want to miss it when the coverage is that tight, just beyond the receiver's outstretched hands, rather than underthrowing it and sending it right into the defensive back's greedy little mitts.


It's interesting. On one hand, success running the ball is heavily dependent on how many defenders there are in the box. On the other hand, something that pretty consistently bears out in the stats is that having a running threat as a quarterback greatly helps the efficiency of a runningback (the mechanism seemingly being by opening up running lanes because the defense can't react to just the running back, they also have to try to cover the quarterback). There were five offenses in the NFL last year that managed to produce positive value, or at least positive EPA, when running the ball, namely the Ravens, Titans, Patriots, Packers, and Saints, in that order. The Cardinals were sixth, but slightly negative. You see similar things going back multiple years; the key to having an efficient running game is to either have serious running threats at quarterback (Ravens, Patriots, Cardinals), have an elite passing offense (Titans, Packers), or have one weird outlier game against the Vikings where Alvin Kamara rushes for six touchdowns (Saints.) Other than that, even if you have a running back who's generally considered to be, quote, "good," it's very difficult to have your running offense be positively productive because of the inherent limits to running the football.

So, in all likelihood, it's either a wash or an edge to Cam, unless Mac can lead the team to a top five or so passing offense (in which case the lighter boxes and such are likely enough to swing the pendulum in the other direction). The running game, not just from the quarterback position but also from the runningbacks, will very likely be more productive with him under center. However, running the ball is still not particularly productive and will never be remotely as efficient as a high-end passing game. If Mac provides a substantially better option as a passer, then it will outweigh the value derived from Cam's stature as a running threat. It's just the way the game works.
I don't think Mac has to lead the Pats to a top 5 passing offense in order to start. They just need to be top half of the league. If that happens, they'll be able to spread the field out and the defense will have to adjust accordingly leading to lighter boxes and the ability to run out of that which is better for the offense.
 

rodderick

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Apr 24, 2009
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Belo Horizonte - Brazil
"Honestly, at this point, I’d go so far as to say it’s not a quarterback competition anymore. Mac Jones will be the starting quarterback for the Patriots this year. Cam Newton is just keeping the seat warm until the oven-timer dings and Mac can be served to the NFL."
--Tom E. Curran

https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/patriots/patriots-switch-cam-newton-mac-jones-creeps-ever-closer
My theory is there's no way in hell they'll have Mac starting against Tampa, barring injury. I think the clock starts ticking after that game if he keeps showing promise.
 
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