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Rob Ninkovich: Mac Jones Helped Cam Newton Learn Patriots' Playbook


The end of the NFL's preseason always features some big-name cuts, but perhaps none was more headline-worthy than the Patriots parting ways with Cam Newton. As the team opts to go with rookie first-round pick Mac Jones at quarterback, one former Patriots star has a notion as to why the former league MVP was let go.

Speaking on his podcast, The Dan and Ninko Show, former Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich said Newton made more mental errors than Jones during training camp—and that Jones was actually helping the veteran incumbent starter learn New England's playbook.

“From everything that I understand now, Mac was basically helping Cam learn the playbook…Mac was having less (mental errors)," Ninkovich said.

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Ninkovich spent eight of his 11 NFL seasons with the Patriots, and won two Super Bowl titles with the team. He recorded 46 career sacks while with New England, which ranks as the fifth-most in franchise history.

In his lone season with the Patriots, Newton started 15 games in 2020, completing 65.8% of his passes for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 592 yards and 12 scores.

The Patriots took Jones with the No. 15 pick in the 2021 draft after he starred for Alabama, leading the Crimson Tide to the 2020 national championship. In 13 games, Jones completed 77.4% of his passes for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and four interceptions, finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting.

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