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Rodney Harrison Says It's A 'No-Brainer' For Bill Belichick To Start Mac Jones For Patriots

BOSTON (CBS) -- Patriots Hall of Famer Rodney Harrison thinks Cam Newton's best days are behind him. And he thinks it would be "absolutely crazy" for the Patriots to not start rookie Mac Jones at quarterback in the regular season.

Speaking on Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, Harrison adamantly argued that the decision for Bill Belichick should be easy.

"If he's watching the same film that I'm watching, I believe that he should start him. I think it would be absolutely crazy not to start Mac Jones," Harrison said regarding the decision of his former head coach. "I just think he's a really good player. They've done a great job of surrounding him with talent. The offensive line is one of the top five in the National Football League, they've got a great defense, you know they're gonna have great special teams, and then put that on top of coaching -- it's a no-brainer. Why would you want to go back [to Newton]?"

Harrison was outspoken with his criticism of Newton during the offseason, saying it would be Belichick's "worst decision" ever if the coach brought Newton back for a second season. Belichick did indeed bring Newton back, and Harrison is once again making the case against the 2015 NFL MVP.

"You look at Mac Jones. He's young, he's impressionable. You can do kind of what you want with him," Harrison said. "With Cam, he's older, he's stuck in his ways, and his best days are gone. I say stick with Mac, definitely."

Harrison played for the Patriots from 2003-08, winning Super Bowls in his first two seasons. He was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2019. Harrison recently shared that Belichick told him that Harrison should feel free to criticize the coach while being an analyst, and the former favorite of Belichick has certainly taken that to heart.

And on the specifics of the quarterbacks, Harrison stressed that Jones makes more sense in the Patriots' system than Newton does.

"I just think Mac Jones, he did everything that Coach Belichick and Josh McDaniels wanted him to do. He's the perfect quarterback for this system. And why would you want to go and put Cam Newton, a guy that's still learning the offense, a guy that's been super inconsistent? This kid, he came out his very first start, he's running the no-huddle, hurry-up offense," Harrison said. "I just think that this is the right guy for the job. And it's a no-brainer to me. I just, I don't understand how this could be hard to Coach Belichick. I know he has a lot of loyalty to Cam, but at the end of the day, the thing that he always preached to us, he said, 'Hey, I'm gonna do what's best for the team.' And in my opinion, what's best for the team is starting Mac Jones and not Cam Newton."

Belichick has yet to publicly make any announcements about the starting QB. All signs have pointed to Newton remaining QB1 on the depth chart, based on practice reps and preseason starts. But with Belichick, nothing is ever really known until it's known.

In the meantime, Harrison has made his feelings on the matter as clear as possible.

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