After a dismal 2020, the New England Patriots have the potential to bounce back in a big way — if they can get solid production from their quarterback, that is.

That’s why of all the preseason position battles taking place across the NFL, all eyes are on the battle between Cam Newton and rookie Mac Jones to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback.

However, this Patriots legend has a very surprising answer for who he believes should be the team’s starting QB this season.

After Tom Brady decided to leave the Patriots without a clear cut starting quarterback for the first time in two decades prior to last season, everyone knew that the Patriots would struggle.

Left without any other options, Bill Belichick scraped the bottom of the barrel, and signed a declining Cam Newton late last offseason in the hopes that he could figure out a way to maximize what Newton is still able to bring to the table.

Of course, that didn’t work out in any way, shape, or form last year and the Patriots suffered their first losing season since 2000, Belichick’s first season in New England, and missed the playoffs for just the second time since 2002.

Of course, Newton’s lack of production wasn’t the Patriots only issue, as more Patriots chose to opt-out of the season than any other team in the league, leaving the team significantly short handed at many positions up and down their roster.

But one thing the Patriots do still have going for them is the fact that they have the greatest head coach in the history of the NFL.

And after Belichick changed his approach this offseason – spending more in free agency than ever before – there is plenty of reason for New England fans to be excited about the potential of this year’s team.

The only real question mark for the Pats is whether Cam Newton will once again be the team’s starter, or if the Mac Jones era will immediately begin.

If you ask the overwhelming majority of the Patriots faithful, that answer is clear – it’s Mac Jones, and it’s not even close.

Basically everyone knows that Belichick wouldn’t have drafted Jones with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 draft if he didn’t fully believe Jones was his quarterback of the future.

Plus, Jones played for Nick Saban – one of Belichick’s closest coaching friends and a coach he trusts more than virtually any other – at Alabama, so he’s basically been bred to be the perfect fit for the Patriots’ Way.

Despite those facts, there are still some in the NFL universe who believe for some reason that Cam Newton is the Patriots best option at quarterback in 2021.

And among those Newton believers is Patriots legend Drew Bledsoe.

In a recent interview, Bledsoe revealed that he essentially believes none of Newton’s issues last year were his fault, and because of that, he should be given a full season to show he’s still capable of playing at the same level he did when he was named the NFL’s MVP six years ago.

“I think they’ve got to let Cam go a little bit, and I would personally really like to see Cam get a full year,” Bledsoe said. “Last year, the cupboard was kind of empty up there, and I think everybody recognizes that now. There wasn’t a lot, in terms of weapons for him. They went and got some weapons, and I think it’d be great to see Cam get to get back out there and show why he was an NFL MVP.”

On top of that, Bledsoe is of the belief that it would be more beneficial for Jones to sit on the bench, hold a clipboard, and learn for his entire rookie season rather than getting meaningful in-game experience.

“It’d also be pretty good for Mac to watch it for a year and then be ready to rock going forward,” Bledsoe continued. “But I’d love to see Cam get a chance to get out there and get after it and show what he can really do.”

Now, it’s important to note a few things here in order to properly put Bledsoe’s opinion into perspective.

First, we have to remember that Bledsoe was in a similar situation to Newton late in his own career in New England, seeing his own playing ability decline before he was replaced by another rookie quarterback – some guy named Tom Brady.

Whether or not he’s consciously aware of it, there’s little doubt that Bledsoe’s own experience having his career cut short by a talented rookie is playing into his thought process.

Second, Bledsoe is correct when he says that the Patriots’ issues in 2020 were not solely the fault of Cam Newton’s lack of production.

The cupboard was completely bare in New England last year, and outside of Brady, no other quarterback could’ve made that team into a contender, even if there are a ton of quarterbacks who would’ve certainly made the team around him better than Newton did.

If you only consider those facts, it’s easy to see why Bledsoe would want to see Newton get another opportunity to be the Patriots’ starter this season.

But, of course, there’s so much more to consider when it comes to Cam Newton and the Patriots quarterback position.

Above all else, anyone who’s seen Cam Newton play since his shoulder injury in week 10 of the 2018 season, and subsequent surgery, knows that he’s never been the same.

Prior to the injury, Newton struggled with accuracy, but was always bailed out by his running ability and arm strength.

And since the injury, he’s lost that arm strength while still struggling with accuracy, essentially making him a one-dimensional quarterback that defenses can contain far more easily.

On top of that, even without many weapons around him, Newton clearly struggled mightily to be even slightly productive last season.

In 2020, Newton threw for less than 175 yards per game in 10 of his 15 starts, while throwing 10 interceptions – on a rather limited number of passing attempts, mind you — to just eight touchdowns.

Starting less than half the number of games and over 100 fewer passing attempts than Newton, 38-year-old Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick — who is also 6 years older than Newton, has played 16 NFL seasons to Newton’s 10, and has never been considered as talented as Newton — threw for just over 600 yards less than Newton, five more touchdowns, and fewer interceptions in 2020.

And it’s not like the Dolphins were significantly more talented than the Patriots, as the two teams split the two games they played against one another last season.

Basically, it’s extremely difficult for anyone to honestly believe that Cam Newton will have some extraordinary bounce back season simply because the Patriots will have better skill position players this season.

Obviously, because he has yet to play a regular season snap in the NFL, Mac Jones is still an unknown commodity around the league.

But it’s extremely difficult to believe that a quarterback both Bill Belichick and Nick Saban love, and is by all indications the perfect fit for New England’s system, won’t be better than a deteriorating Cam Newton.

It’s entirely possible that Belichick chooses to let Newton start the season just to give the veteran one more chance while allowing Jones a little more time to get acclimated to the pro level.

But it’s very, very hard for anyone who’s been paying attention to believe that Mac Jones won’t be the Patriots starting quarterback sooner rather than later.

Only time will tell how it all plays out, though.

*Sports With Balls Official Polling*