Next Pats: Why Mac Jones makes the Patriots contenders

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Next Pats: Why Mac Jones makes the Patriots contenders originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Tuesday marked the beginning of a new era in Foxboro as rookie Mac Jones earned the starting quarterback job for the New England Patriots.

The move to go with Jones rather than run it back with Cam Newton was met mostly with optimism among fans, but does the No. 15 overall pick have what it takes to make the Patriots a Super Bowl contender?

Edelman weighs in on Mac overtaking Cam

On a brand new episode of the Next Pats Podcast, our Phil Perry chatted with ESPN's Louis Riddick about whether the decision to start Jones could put New England back in the mix for a championship.

Next Pats Podcast: Louis Riddick explains why Mac Jones makes the Patriots CONTENDERS | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube

"Sure, it can," Riddick said. "As long as Mac continues to exercise good judgment, the decision-making part of the equation here, and he throws with good accuracy, and they don't get decimated by COVID or injuries or something unforeseen, they will be there. And if Bill (Belichick) didn't believe that they can do that -- he's not trying to build the team for three years down the road. The guy just went through one of the most hellacious seasons he's ever been through. He was miserable. He doesn't want to go through that again.

"He didn't bring Matt Judon and Kendrick Bourne and Trent Brown, he didn't bring those guys back just to go, 'Well, we'll be more competitive this year.' No, he's trying to win. He wouldn't have made this move to make Mac the unquestioned starter from Day 1 if he didn't believe over the course of 17 games this guy's gonna ascend to the point where we're going to be able to challenge for championships."

Also discussed on the new episode: Riddick on why the move to go with Jones proves Belichick isn't scared. Josh McDaniels on why he is comfortable with Jones as his starting QB. And Troy Brown explains what has impressed him the most about Jones.

Check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube below: