FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick took questions Wednesday morning for the first time since releasing quarterback Cam Newton.

Newton was among 21 players cut by the Patriots on Tuesday, which was the deadline for teams to reach the required 53-man roster.

The decision paved the way to the starting role for first-round draft pick Mac Jones. Belichick said he sees qualities in the rookie that he likes.

“First of all, he’s had a high level of production I feel like he’s been able to show an ability to get things done at a productive level. He’s young, I’m sure he’ll continue to learn and grow, we’ll see where that goes. But that’s why we drafted him and I think he’s come in and performed at a level that supports that,” he said.

As for Newton, Belichick wouldn’t go into detail as to why he was let go, but said it was not because of his vaccination status.

Belichick added that there are other players outside of Newton that have not been vaccinated, yet wouldn’t say who or put a number on it.

Newton had also missed five days of training camp due to what the team deemed a “misunderstanding” leading to a league violation of COVID rules.

Patriots Offensive Coach Josh McDaniels says Jones is confident in his approach and processes information well. He added that Jones also is good at learning from his mistakes and is a great listener.

On the departure of Newton, McDaniels spoke highly of his former quarterback.

“In this particular case, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a player, a human being, and a person,” McDaniels said. He knows how I feel about him.”