The McCorkle Camnundrum

How Good is Mac Jones right now? Have your say...

  • Better than Stidham, but should redshirt and leave this O to the seasoned vet

    Votes: 5 2.5%
  • Hasn't shown anything vs. first team defenses yet, so start him only if Cam gets hurt

    Votes: 43 21.3%
  • Looks the goods, so start him Week 2 vs NYJ, or if Cam sh*ts the bed -- whichever is sooner

    Votes: 101 50.0%
  • Anoint him now so he's primed for the grudge match vs. TB12

    Votes: 43 21.3%
  • Next "win a real ring" Twitter target; why are we even debating this?

    Votes: 10 5.0%

  • Total voters
    202
  • Poll closed .
Status
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streeter88

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Reading the QB thread and some of the strong reactions that this preseason QB competition has evinced within SOSH led me to the question of how the broader SOSH family views Mac vs. Cam. I suspect many of us are frustrated that McCorkle didn't get the start yesterday, leaving no way to judge his capability vs first team defenses or with the Patriots starters before the season begins. Certainly, the debate is raging within the QB thread, but now that the preseason games -- and our window into the QB competition -- have closed out, seems like the perfect time to ask.

Belichick himself said there are still decisions to make - so SOSH, what do you think?

Edit: probably should have an opinion... I see the argument for a "wait and see" approach, and understand there is real risk in putting Mac in too early especially to the team and maybe to the established veteran with his incentive laden contract. From a team management perspective, I would lean toward starting Mac only if Cam gets hurt or the team gets blown out the first few games. The problem is, I don't really see what further we will learn from a Cam Newton who already had a strong audition last year, doesn't seem to have gotten much better by the various reports, and is such a big risk on the pandemic front. If all we can expect from Cam is Top 20 performance, and the ceiling for Mac is higher, why not take the chance now, especially when the weather is nice, the opponents are perhaps not quite has strong as later in the season, and Mac will have had 2 weeks to prepare for Week 1?
 
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RIrooter09

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Start the season with Cam and put in Mac when Cam struggles for an extended period (say 2+ games).
 

rodderick

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I'd start Mac because I don't know what he could've done to look better than he did in preseason and I think the team and coaching are good enough that he won't ever get PTSD from being out there too soon. Cam hasn't shit the bed or anything, he's been solid, but gave me no indication that last year was an anomaly. Put the kid in, this team isn't really built to win the Super Bowl anyway, I'd rather win 8 games with Mac showing promise than be a fringe Wild Card team with a Cam that plays well. And from what I saw of Mac I don't discard the possibility that his skillset is developed enough that he actually gives you a better chance to win against the best teams in the conference (can't really play ground and pound against Buffalo and KC and expect Cam to come from behind). Cam is a nice guy, but I don't subscribe to the theory that he's "owed" starts with better weapons around him. On the other hand, if he's out there week 1 I think it's a totally defensible decision too.
 

yeahlunchbox

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Cam was terrible last year, there's nothing to show he'll be better this year, and I have no desire to have Cam ruled out after taking a week of practice reps because he refuses to take Covid seriously. Go with Mac and see what we have for real, the future is now.
 

DJnVa

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Cam was terrible last year, there's nothing to show he'll be better this year,
I'm a Mac guy, but everyone has said how Cam is much further along in his understanding of the playbook after last season's abbreviated preseason, etc.

I *think* that's why BB is going to give him the start. The preseason offense with Cam was very vanilla--they called no designed QB runs, etc. I think it's pretty safe to assume that they are going to give Cam the benefit of the doubt because they see the behind the scenes improvement (film room, etc.)
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I trust BB to make the call. My expectation is that Cam starts Game 1. I hope a transition occurs sometime in gameweek 2-5 and am fairly optimistic that is what will happen. I went with the "Looks the goods" poll answer as the closest fit, but really I'm less impatient for the Mac era to begin than that answer would suggest.

As I've said elsewhere, I also wouldn't rule out some kind of 80/20 platoon situation to start the season and would personally be in favor of it.

Two things about the poll:

Mac has been regularly playing against first team defenses and with the first team offense in in practice and in the joint practices (especially against the Giants). It reinforces my belief that Cam starts game 1, but I don't think Mac is any less prepared to start because he didn't play a series last night against the Giants 1s

BB is likely to say that he isn't sure who is starting Game 1 no matter what, simply to avoid tipping his hand and make it more difficult for the Dolphins to prepare. So I wouldn't read much into those comments. I don't think what he said last night after the game makes it any less likely that Cam starts game 1.
 
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BigSoxFan

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2 weeks. I give Cam 2 weeks to show what he has and to let Mac get settled with the game day experience. If Cam is bad, I let Mac start Game 3 against the Saints. Of course, I can't stand watching Cam so if BB wants to make that happen in Week 1, I'm all for it.
 

moondog80

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Newton's job to lose. But the threshold isn't super high.
 

gammoseditor

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I’d be targeting week 3 to start Mac. I think he’s clearly better but I’d give him two weeks to see the weekly preparation at the NFL level which also gives Cam two weeks to prove something. I don’t expect he will.
 

dirtynine

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Cam should start the season. For a variety of reasons, it's pretty likely that he will not start all 17 games. Mac will get a shot to start at some point. From there, it's a matter of if he lets go.
 

moondog80

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Just heard this on the Simmons podcast. I change my mind. Start him, week 1. I knew he had looked good but didn't see it put together like this. I'm giddy.

Mac Jones, 10 Drives in Preseason:

53 Yards, FG
Punt
43 Yards, FG
70 Yards, TD
75 Yards, TD
91 Yards, TD
45 Yards, FG
Punt
75 Yards, TD
50 Yards, TD
 

tims4wins

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Just heard this on the Simmons podcast. I change my mind. Start him, week 1. I knew he had looked good but didn't see it put together like this. I'm giddy.

Mac Jones, 10 Drives in Preseason:

53 Yards, FG
Punt
43 Yards, FG
70 Yards, TD
75 Yards, TD
91 Yards, TD
45 Yards, FG
Punt
75 Yards, TD
50 Yards, TD
For those scoring at home, this would be 502 yards and 44 points on 10 drives, or basically a full game

Edit: the last drive of the first half vs. Philly (sack) seems to be missing
 

Ferm Sheller

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Well we know he can tear up NFL backups, that’s for sure.
Yes, but as moondog suggests, throwing the ball largely to unproven/low-ceiling players. I'd like to see what he could do with Jonnu, Henry, Agoholor, Meyers, Bourne, White, etc.
 

Super Nomario

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Just heard this on the Simmons podcast. I change my mind. Start him, week 1. I knew he had looked good but didn't see it put together like this. I'm giddy.

Mac Jones, 10 Drives in Preseason:

53 Yards, FG
Punt
43 Yards, FG
70 Yards, TD
75 Yards, TD
91 Yards, TD
45 Yards, FG
Punt
75 Yards, TD
50 Yards, TD
This is not accurate. Versus WAS, it was FG, Punt, FG, Punt, Punt (technically there was a one-snap end-of-half kneeldown in there)
Eagles was TD, TD, Punt, TD, FG
NYG was FG, Punt, end of half, TD, TD, Punt

so it's missing four punts in there
 

simplyeric

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I wanted an option between "hasn't shown anything" and "start him week 2".

As has been mentioned, I do think BB has seen a bunch of evidence of his performance with and v starters, in practice. I don't even know if this final pre-season game, against an opponent they spent the entire week with, is really instructive. DJmVA mentioned that they were running a pretty vanilla offense. I wonder how much of it was set up to judge Cam's capabilities, or to run specific plays to see how the o-line and such were working. Like, if BB has some confidence in certain QB run plays, then he's out there testing thigns he has less confidence on, to learn what he needs to coach up.
 

Pxer

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You can make an argument for Mac, but I'd put roughly zero stock in pre-season numbers.

I think Cam should start, and the leash should be short if he struggles. This team can make the playoffs and who knows beyond that. If QB is holding them back, BB and Josh won't hesitate to make the switch if they think Jones is more capable.
 

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snowmanny

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Personally I’d start Mac. I don’t like the line of reasoning that goes “Newton will suck fairly quickly and fairly persistently so start Mac when that happens.” If Jones is better use him. There isn’t a big margin for error in a football season.

I will say we haven’t seen Cam run a lot in preseason and that’s the best part of his game, so I expect him to start game 1 and I expect him to be overall ok-ish, but I’d start Jones.
 

AB in DC

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I wanted an option between "hasn't shown anything" and "start him week 2".
Agreed. I'm in line with those above saying Cam starts week 1, Mac takes over sometime later this season when Cam struggles, which he surely will at some point. Doesn't seem that complicated.
 

DourDoerr

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Agreed. I'm in line with those above saying Cam starts week 1, Mac takes over sometime later this season when Cam struggles, which he surely will at some point. Doesn't seem that complicated.
If you believe Cam will struggle at some point and necessitate Mac's insertion, then aren't you complicating the situation by starting Cam game 1?
 

Zincman

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BB will play the QB that gives the Pats the best chance to win. Sentiment, public opinion, media pressure, SOSH advice are not things he pays attention to. And we all know he is unafraid to make difficult personnel decisions. There will be no pre-programmed date for the passing of the torch. BB will decide IF and when to make a change and it will be because he has concluded that this is best for NE. I can't recall him operating in any other way
 

GB5

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I think it is going to be frustrating but even if Cam is inconsistent early on, I think BB is going to stay with him much longer than this board and the general fan base wants. Now maybe he fills more comfortable with Mac than he did with Hoyer or Stiddy, but BB had plenty of opportunities to go away from Cam last year, and wouldnt do it. After SD, the last two games, during the Denver game. BB likes Cam a whole lot more than everyone else does.
 

nattysez

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I will say: the local radio, TV and print wags have got to be ecstatic to finally be able to debate QBs for extended period. For the youngsters on the board, I remember well:
- Grogan v. Eason
- Flutie v. Grogan v. Eason
- Bledsoe v. Bishop (this was hotly debated whenever Drew had a bad game)
- Bledsoe v. Brady
Then Brady made those discussions academic.

I have a feeling that BB is going to ride Cam for as long as he can, but he'll eventually turn to Mac. As I said elsewhere, the Machiavellian approach would be to make Cam run a lot, win a few games that way, then let Mac take over when running a lot wears Cam down/causes injury.
 

8slim

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If you believe Cam will struggle at some point and necessitate Mac's insertion, then aren't you complicating the situation by starting Cam game 1?
There's a chance he doesn't "struggle". By all accounts Cam does everything right in terms of preparation and leadership. I have a hunch that Cam won't be abjectly bad, he'll just be Cam... which is to say he'll be inconsistent, doing many things that can help the team win, and also doing occasional Cam things (taking unnecessary sacks, missing open receivers, fumbling in bad spots).

BB also may want to see what he has at the other offensive positions, since we have soooo many new pieces. He may feel that Cam's better suited to helm things at the start given that dynamic.
 

8slim

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I will say: the local radio, TV and print wags have got to be ecstatic to finally be able to debate QBs for extended period. For the youngsters on the board, I remember well:
- Grogan v. Eason
- Flutie v. Grogan v. Eason
- Bledsoe v. Bishop (this was hotly debated whenever Drew had a bad game)
- Bledsoe v. Brady
Then Brady made those discussions academic.

I have a feeling that BB is going to ride Cam for as long as he can, but he'll eventually turn to Mac. As I said elsewhere, the Machiavellian approach would be to make Cam run a lot, win a few games that way, then let Mac take over when running a lot wears Cam down/causes injury.
I remember Grogan vs. Cavanaugh as well, which was the debate when I first started following the team.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Just to put a little more meat on the "trust BB" bones.

The bottom line is that Mac's upside is future of the franchise. Cam does not have the same ceiling. So the issue to me is how to best keep Mac in line to be the potential future of the franchise for so long as he at least has the potential to be that.

And the truth is I don't know the answer to that. Maybe you could make a case it's by getting him in there and maybe you can make the case that it's by being the backup for a bit. Not sure. There may be a time when the answer to what is the best approach is more clear than it is now. But right now it's pretty murky. So, other than trusting the guy with a lifetime in the game and who is the best that has ever done it, I got nothing.
 

Norm loves Vera

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I just am having a hard time thinking Cam will be a good #2 behind Mac when and if that happens this season, based on his highly incentivised contract. Maybe he made his millions and would be fine with a clipboard and coasting this season and leaving millions on the table, but I don't see it. If Mac is the starter, short of an injury, I don't see a spot on the team for Cam. BB is not one to have a QB controversy on Patriots Way.
 

Jimbodandy

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I just am having a hard time thinking Cam will be a good #2 behind Mac when and if that happens this season, based on his highly incentivised contract. Maybe he made his millions and would be fine with a clipboard and coasting this season and leaving millions on the table, but I don't see it. If Mac is the starter, short of an injury, I don't see a spot on the team for Cam. BB is not one to have a QB controversy on Patriots Way.
We're veering into talk radio territory with takes like this.

Bill knows the locker room.
 

Traut

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I just am having a hard time thinking Cam will be a good #2 behind Mac when and if that happens this season, based on his highly incentivised contract. Maybe he made his millions and would be fine with a clipboard and coasting this season and leaving millions on the table, but I don't see it. If Mac is the starter, short of an injury, I don't see a spot on the team for Cam. BB is not one to have a QB controversy on Patriots Way.
Cam isn't stupid.

If the Patriots released him today - who would claim him to start? No one.
 

Cellar-Door

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I find it weird everyone just assumes Cam would be a problem if he didn't start. He's widely beloved by current and former teammates and coaches and I've never heard anyone say he was less than a total pro.

This is not accurate. Versus WAS, it was FG, Punt, FG, Punt, Punt (technically there was a one-snap end-of-half kneeldown in there)
Eagles was TD, TD, Punt, TD, FG
NYG was FG, Punt, end of half, TD, TD, Punt

so it's missing four punts in there
Yeah I believe, excluding end of game or end of half time running drives, the final totals:
Cam- 7 drives, 2 TDs, 2FGs, 1 Missed FG, 1 Punt, 1 INT
Mac- 14 drives 5 TDs, 3FGs, 6 punts
Hoyer- 5 drives, 1 TD, 2 FGs, 1 fumble, 1 Punt

Cam had an INT, but put the team in position to score a slightly higher percentage of the time.
 

DourDoerr

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There's a chance he doesn't "struggle". By all accounts Cam does everything right in terms of preparation and leadership. I have a hunch that Cam won't be abjectly bad, he'll just be Cam... which is to say he'll be inconsistent, doing many things that can help the team win, and also doing occasional Cam things (taking unnecessary sacks, missing open receivers, fumbling in bad spots).

BB also may want to see what he has at the other offensive positions, since we have soooo many new pieces. He may feel that Cam's better suited to helm things at the start given that dynamic.
"Struggle" is not my word. I think you're right, this Cam is just Cam at this point. For the old Cam, this would be struggling.

I don't see what BB's going to learn about what he has at the other offensive positions if he's throwing a QB out there who's biggest strength right now is his running ability. I guess you'd learn that, say, Bourne was open on a play, but good luck calculating YAC when the ball lands at Bourne's feet.
 

wiffleballhero

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In the simulacrum
The AFC is going to be really good this year with multiple teams all in good positions (at least from the looks of things here in the end of August) to go on a run. With only one team getting a bye and almost certainly one of the first round games being a real dogfight between excellent teams, if Bill thinks Mac is the better quarterback right now, he should play him now because otherwise you might just end up conceding ground in a situation where doing so could really burn you downstream (bye, HFA, even getting in).

Or, in terms of NEP norms, to my way of looking at it, this season is not likely to be one of these seasons where the Pats can start slow with a sort of right-of-first-refusal on a bye and HFA in the AFCCG. They've got to win some games. If Mac gives you a better chance to win, you play him. Don't try to "three-D-chess" what really should boil down to a simple decision: who is better this week?

Also, FWIW, preseason games are not useless, but they are like looking at a CIA redacted document and trying to figure it out. For all of us not seeing the other 70 hours a week in preseason prep, we're just sort of lost, waiting for the decision.
 

joe dokes

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I think it is going to be frustrating but even if Cam is inconsistent early on, I think BB is going to stay with him much longer than this board and the general fan base wants. Now maybe he fills more comfortable with Mac than he did with Hoyer or Stiddy, but BB had plenty of opportunities to go away from Cam last year, and wouldnt do it. After SD, the last two games, during the Denver game. BB likes Cam a whole lot more than everyone else does.
With the benefits of hindsight, it's clear why he stuck with Cam -- because he correctly figured the other guys would not be any better.
 

simplyeric

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"Struggle" is not my word. I think you're right, this Cam is just Cam at this point. For the old Cam, this would be struggling.

I don't see what BB's going to learn about what he has at the other offensive positions if he's throwing a QB out there who's biggest strength right now is his running ability. I guess you'd learn that, say, Bourne was open on a play, but good luck calculating YAC when the ball lands at Bourne's feet.
He can learn how well the O-line is coming together. Does he have a strong O-line? Can he do a ground/short/middle game with running, pass-catching RB's, and TE's?
If so, maybe he moves forward with that because if he thinks it can gel, he has a good feeling for the upside/downside potential of running Cam out there with a game plan that's designed towards his strengths.
 

Mystic Merlin

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I find it weird everyone just assumes Cam would be a problem if he didn't start. He's widely beloved by current and former teammates and coaches and I've never heard anyone say he was less than a total pro.


Yeah I believe, excluding end of game or end of half time running drives, the final totals:
Cam- 7 drives, 2 TDs, 2FGs, 1 Missed FG, 1 Punt, 1 INT
Mac- 14 drives 5 TDs, 3FGs, 6 punts
Hoyer- 5 drives, 1 TD, 2 FGs, 1 fumble, 1 Punt

Cam had an INT, but put the team in position to score a slightly higher percentage of the time.
Yeah, I don’t understand the basis of an assumption that Cam wouldn’t play the good soldier if he was the backup. For one thing, Bill has quite a long and storied track record of making good decisions based on on-field play, so I think the idea a veteran player will act out like he’s a young coach who has done nothing in the league is a stretch. Additionally, what evidence is there that he would, in a vacuum, be more likely to at out than play the good soldier? He’s an energetic and vocal player, but so what? I could easily see him take the Bledsoe approach by supporting Mac and redirecting his frustrations into preparing. There is no guarantee, after all, that Mac would keep the starting job.

I think there is definitely locker room risk in benching Cam simply because it’s an unknown and a highly visible/important position, but I also think - notwithstanding the seeming perception that players still think Cam is a superstar performer on the field - there’s a risk that the team sees Mac’s effectiveness and starts raising eyebrows if Cam is out there scuffling along week after week.
 

DourDoerr

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He can learn how well the O-line is coming together. Does he have a strong O-line? Can he do a ground/short/middle game with running, pass-catching RB's, and TE's?
If so, maybe he moves forward with that because if he thinks it can gel, he has a good feeling for the upside/downside potential of running Cam out there with a game plan that's designed towards his strengths.
At this point in the pre-season - especially with regard to the track record of many of the OL - I'd guess BB would have a good sense of where the line is relative to the competition. The two new TE's, Harris, and especially White are known quantities, so I'd also guess he also has a good idea of their individual and collective capabilites at this late stage. Injuries may have mucked up this process somewhat, but again, we're dealing with known quantities that I'd hope they scouted extensively for fit before signing.

The one thing that we've learned about Cam is that his strength is also the O's proven strength - the run game. It'd be a bigger positive if Cam was a threat to make the D pay for shadowing him, but Cam hasn't been a threat to punish an opposing team through the air so far. He's been better this summer, but many of his flaws persist - mechanics, pocket presence, etc. - and I'm not optimistic that's going to suddenly take a positive turn. It is what it is.

Given Mac's reportedly quick absorption and execution of the playbook, my impression is we're past the time of any need to buy more, er, time.
 

brendan f

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There is no guarantee, after all, that Mac would keep the starting job.
This is the problem with starting Mac. What BB doesn't want--no team does--is to start a rookie only to have the veteran supplant him. It shows in glowing highlighter that you believe you made the wrong decision and it potentially deflates the rookie's confidence moving forward. It's much easier to start Cam, wait for him to suck or get injured (which, almost inevitably, he will at some point) and then call on the rookie. This also gives Mac more time to prepare. I'm not saying this makes it the right decision, but rather, the far easier one.

I could see a scenario where Mac takes over at some point, and Cam is kept in the fold in certain goal line situations, thereby increasing the team's overall versatility while placating Cam. But Cam's vaccination status might end up playing a role in all of this, too. It certainly complicates the picture, perhaps more than we know.
 

djbayko

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This is the problem with starting Mac. What BB doesn't want--no team does--is to start a rookie only to have the veteran supplant him. It shows in glowing highlighter that you believe you made the wrong decision and it potentially deflates the rookie's confidence moving forward. It's much easier to start Cam, wait for him to suck or get injured (which, almost inevitably, he will at some point) and then call on the rookie. This also gives Mac more time to prepare. I'm not saying this makes it the right decision, but rather, the far easier one.

I could see a scenario where Mac takes over at some point, and Cam is kept in the fold in certain goal line situations, thereby increasing the team's overall versatility while placating Cam. But Cam's vaccination status might end up playing a role in all of this, too. It certainly complicates the picture, perhaps more than we know.
It will be very fitting when what eventually precipitates the switch over to Mac is Cam not being able to play due to COVID protocols.
 

streeter88

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Just getting back to this - looks like there were lots of great responses overnight!

Looks like there could have been a "Let's not burn the rook too soon. Start him mid-season or when Cam falters for 2-3 games (or tests positive), then yield to the future."

I still think he is clearly the better option with higher upside, and in a tough division don't want to lose any winnable games because the best option wasn't on the field.
 

epraz

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This is the problem with starting Mac. What BB doesn't want--no team does--is to start a rookie only to have the veteran supplant him. It shows in glowing highlighter that you believe you made the wrong decision and it potentially deflates the rookie's confidence moving forward. It's much easier to start Cam, wait for him to suck or get injured (which, almost inevitably, he will at some point) and then call on the rookie. This also gives Mac more time to prepare. I'm not saying this makes it the right decision, but rather, the far easier one.
I mean, if Mac sucks Mac sucks. That could easily happen in your scenario where Cam starts and Mac supplants him.
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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I'm not a huge fan of Curran these days, but I found his appearance on Eisen's show today and he makes a surprisingly salient point, which kind of enforced a thought I had already been throwing around in my head which is: did Cam have the ability to separate himself if he wanted to? His overall workload has been pretty minimal despite him getting priority position in every series of drills, his covid testing kerfuffle excepted. Ignoring the order and personnel, it is a workload that I might associate with putting the lynchpin player for the organization in bubble wrap until the start of the season, a la Herbert. As much respect that Bill has for Newton, am I to believe that this is the case?

View: https://youtu.be/A-uyZU1oWpI
 

rodderick

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Yeah, it is a little strange how for all the "Cam need reps, Cam needs an off-season, Cam needs to acclimate himself to the system" talk he got so little run in preseason.
 

simplyeric

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Richmond, VA
At this point in the pre-season - especially with regard to the track record of many of the OL - I'd guess BB would have a good sense of where the line is relative to the competition. The two new TE's, Harris, and especially White are known quantities, so I'd also guess he also has a good idea of their individual and collective capabilites at this late stage. Injuries may have mucked up this process somewhat, but again, we're dealing with known quantities that I'd hope they scouted extensively for fit before signing.

The one thing that we've learned about Cam is that his strength is also the O's proven strength - the run game. It'd be a bigger positive if Cam was a threat to make the D pay for shadowing him, but Cam hasn't been a threat to punish an opposing team through the air so far. He's been better this summer, but many of his flaws persist - mechanics, pocket presence, etc. - and I'm not optimistic that's going to suddenly take a positive turn. It is what it is.

Given Mac's reportedly quick absorption and execution of the playbook, my impression is we're past the time of any need to buy more, er, time.
I don’t know. How many time did we watch the season start, the o-line still not gelled, ‘tom Brady is toast!’ thing.
I think it takes more than practices and a few pre season games to get that stuff to come together, especially for an offense like BB’s that’s so dependent on coordination and choreography.
 
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