The New England Patriots came out of the offseason feeling confident that they could with immediately with quarterback Jarrett Stidham replacing Tom Brady. After a few weeks of training camp, that feeling of optimism seems to be gone.
Stidham, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, came into camp with the edge over former NFL MVP Cam Newton. With the regular season less than three weeks away, any perceived advantage Stidham had could be gone.
Patriots increasingly frustrated by Jarrett Stidham
Once viewed as a potential first-round pick in 2018, the Patriots thought they landed a gem when they selected Stidham. After spending a year learning under Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, expectations were high for Stidham this summer.
New England was confident Stidham could replace Brady as its starting quarterback. In fact, the Patriots were so enamored with the 24-year-old that they didn’t spend a single pick on a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Stidham even held the edge over Newton when training camp began. He got the early first-team reps on offense and his familiarity with the offense gave him an advantage over a more talented quarterback.
Unfortunately, the results haven’t been promising thus far in New England. According to the Boston Sports Journal‘s Greg A. Bedard, the Patriots are increasingly concerned about Stidham’s woes in training camp with mounting frustration that he has failed to grab the starting job.
The issues started early for the second-year quarterback. He threw six interceptions in the team’s first four practices, running into issues with his accuracy and decision-making even with things slowed down.
Unfortunately, things got even worse for Stidham. He was taken to the hospital on Friday with a hip injury, which had been causing him pain for some time. While he was released, the injury is expected to limit him for several weeks.
Who will start at quarterback for the Patriots?
The Patriots knew it wasn’t going to be easy to replace Brady at quarterback, but this certainly isn’t the scenario Bill Belichick visualized. Even the possibility of a quarterback platoon, is likely now out of the picture.
Ultimately, the Patriots would likely be better off by making Newton their starting quarterback. He received full medical clearance from the team before training camp began and has reportedly been the best quarterback during training camp.
Even if Newton isn’t completely familiar with New England’s offense, he gives this team the best chance to win. This is a 31-year-old quarterback looking to prove himself on a team-friendly contract with incentives tied into his performance.
Keep in mind, he’s just two years removed from a 2018 season with a 94.2 quarterback rating, 28 total touchdowns and nearly 3,400 passing yards in 14 games. While durability is a concern, he remains incredibly talented.
It would be wise for the Patriots to put this offense in Newton’s hands and see how far this team goes. If it doesn’t work out, Belichick can look towards the 2021 NFL Draft to find his long-term quarterback.