Cam Newton’s absence opens door for Mac Jones, plus the Yankees are the hottest team in baseball

Hello everyone, it’s Shanna McCarriston, giving you all the sports news you need to know on this fabulous Tuesday. I think everyone on the East Coast can agree with me that I’m thrilled the downpour has stopped and that Hurricane Henri wasn’t as bad as first thought up here. Hopefully everyone stayed safe during the weather we did get.

This isn’t a weather newsletter though, this is for sports, so let’s get to that. Today we will talk some football, including last night’s preseason game, the latest MLB Power Rankings and much more.

Let’s get started.

📰 What you need to know

1. QB competitions put on display in Jaguars vs. Saints 🏈

Yes, we had a full weekend of preseason football, but the action doesn’t stop there. On Monday night, the New Orleans Saints hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams enter the season with a different quarterback than last year, with Drew Brees retiring and the Jags selecting Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick.

But even without Bress under center, the Saints defeated the Jaguars in a close one in the Big Easy, by a final score of 23-21. The main reason the Saints came out on top? Jameis Winston had a fantastic first half.

  • He connected with wide receiver Marquez Callaway for two touchdowns in the first quarter, putting the home team up 14-0 early
  • Winston is very much in the middle of a quarterback competition with Taysom Hill, so this was huge for him

On the other side of the ball, there’s another quarterback competition happening between Trevor Lawrence and Gardner Minshew. Many expect Lawrence to get the starting job come the regular season, and last night was a glimpse into why. Here’s how they both performed:

  • Lawrence: 14/23, 113 yards
  • Minshew: 13/21, 149 yards, one interception

It will be interesting to see what both these teams do at quarterback in Week 1, and the performances from last night will likely go a long way into making those decisions.

2. Cam Newton’s absence helps Mac Jones … and could’ve been avoided 🏈


Ahead of the season, the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed on COVID-19 protocols. Ultimately, the league is putting an emphasis on encouraging players to get vaccinated. There are specific rules in place about where and when players can travel, and the New England Patriots and Cam Newton are finding out the difficult way that the protocols have many stipulations.

Newton has to sit out half of this week’s practices over what the team is calling a “misunderstanding” over the NFL’s testing requirements. 

  • Patriots team statement: “On Saturday, Cam Newton traveled to a Club-approved medical appointment that required him to leave the New England area. He received daily Covid tests, which were all negative. Due to a misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL-NFLPA protocols, Cam will be subject to the five-day entry cadence process before returning to the facility. Cam will continue participating virtually in team activities and return to the club facility on Thursday, August 26.” 

The misunderstanding likely either came from:

  • Newton missing one of the daily tests, which would also subject him to a $50,000 fine by the league, or
  • He did not get the required Mesa test by the league and received a different kind of test

It is not yet known whether the misunderstanding came from Newton or the team. But regardless, the missed time means the presumed QB1 will miss the first joint practice with the New York Giants on Wednesday.

In the statement, the team did not mention Newton’s vaccination status, but they didn’t have to. Vaccinated players aren’t subject to travel restrictions. They are only required to be tested once every 14 days and wouldn’t have daily tests under the protocols.

As a result of all this, rookie first-round pick Mac Jones will now be the offensive leader with Newton out for a bit. The Patriots’ next game is against the Giants on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.

3. Yankees, Rays move up in MLB Power Rankings ⚾

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How ’bout them Yankees? The Yankees spent some time seriously struggling this season while their rival Red Sox were soaring to the top of the standings, but in sports, nothing is a sure thing. Now that script is flipped.

The Yankees are getting healthier and have ten straight wins, which makes that top wild card spot a very serious possibility for New York. I mean, right now even the top spot in the AL East isn’t out of the question.

There are other teams in the league, though, so we must discuss them as well. Here are the top 10 teams in our latest MLB power rankings, along with how they moved since the last power rankings:

  • No. 1: Giants, didn’t move
  • No. 2: Dodgers, didn’t move
  • No. 3: Rays, moved up two spots
  • No. 4: Brewers, didn’t move
  • No. 5: Astros, down two spots
  • No. 6: Yankees, moved up two spots
  • No. 7: White Sox, moved up two spots
  • No. 8: Athletics, moved down two spots
  • No. 9: Braves, moved up four spots
  • No. 10: Red Sox, moved down three spots

For the full MLB Power Rankings and commentary on every team, click here.

4. Tony Finau ends his long winless streak with victory at Northern Trust 🏌

Hurricane Henri delayed the results of the Northern Trust a bit, but action resumed Monday after a rare day off for in the middle of the tournament for the players. The stakes were high in the final round, because after this tournament, the top 70 in the FexEd Cup standings advance to the BMW Championship — which is scheduled to start this Thursday.

Tony Finau had gone 1,975 days and participated in 143 consecutive tournaments since he last recorded a victory. On Monday that streak came to an end as he won Northern Trust in great fashion.

Finau won in a playoff and held off the No. 1 player in the world, Jon Rahm, in the process. Finau and Cameron Smith both ended regulation at 20 under, while Rahm faded to 18 under. Rahm lead the tournament for four and a half days, but was unable to get the job done. 

Here’s how Finau managed to get the win:

  • He shot a 30 on the back nine, including a 3-foot eagle and three other birdies
  • On the final hole, his shot came up short in a bunker, but he was able to put in a 6-footer. That put Finau into a playoff with Smith
  • The playoff didn’t last long, as Smith put his tee shot out of bounds
  • Finau made a straightforward par to come out on top 

Finau had gone five years between wins, but was able to quiet those questioning his abilities with this victory.

  • Finau: “All I know is I’m a lot different player than I was then. I’m a lot better player and I feel like it’s been a long time coming, but I also feel like you have to earn everything out here. Nothing’s given to you and I was able to earn this win, and you know, hopefully the future continues to be bright. I’m playing some great golf. We’ve got two big tournaments in front of me, so I’m going to enjoy this one. I’m playing great golf. I feel like I can go on a run, so why not continue right on to next week.”

CBS Sports’ golf scribe Kyle Porter went through the rest of the leaderboard and handed out grades, which you can check out here.

📝 Odds & Ends

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📺 What to watch tonight

⚾ Mariners vs. Athletics, 3:37 p.m. | OAK -140 | TV: MLB.TV

⚾ Yankees vs. Braves, 7:20 p.m. | ATL -145 | TV: MLB.TV

⚾ Rays vs. Phillies, 7:05 p.m. | PHI +105 | TV: MLB.TV

Best thing I saw on the internet 🏅

I imagine getting called up to the majors is quite the moment. Though I will never experience it due to a lack of talent, I can imagine it’s amazing. Miami Marlins pitching prospect Edwards Cabrera is one of the top players in Miami’s farm system and had an emotional reaction to the news. The 23-year-old is expected to get his first career start on Wednesday when the Marlins play the Washington Nationals.

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