New England Patriots: Don’t rule Jarrett Stidham out as Week 1 starter

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 26: Jarrett Stidham #4 of the New England Patriots arrives to Patriots Training camp at Gillette Stadium on August 26, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 26: Jarrett Stidham #4 of the New England Patriots arrives to Patriots Training camp at Gillette Stadium on August 26, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

With Cam Newton as the apparent frontrunner as the New England Patriots starting quarterback, one former NFL MVP says not so fast.

Who will be the next quarterback to lead the New England Patriots following the departure of Tom Brady?

Well, the answer seems to change on a weekly basis depending on who you ask.

With former NFL MVP Cam Newton emerging as the apparent frontrunner for the starting role, another former NFL MVP is not ruling out second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham as the starter.

Hip injury, missing practices and all, current WFAN radio host Boomer Esiason believes it is still Newton who faces an uphill battle in winning the starting quarterback role.  In fact, he predicts with confidence that it will be Stidham suiting up as the starting quarterback come Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins.

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Yes, the Jarrett Stidham the team appears to be growing frustrated with.  But, in Esiason’s opinion, that frustration is not as challenging as learning a new offense.

"“The one thing we know about Josh McDaniels up there in New England, this offense is about precision, and timing and understanding where everybody is on the field,” Esiason said, as transcribed by WEEI.  “I don’t care if you are a nine-year quarterback or a 10-year quarterback, it’s impossible to learn all of that and yet you are in the midst of a pandemic so you have no preseason games, very little practice time and you’re going to ask this guy to go out there and be your starting quarterback in Week 1? I just don’t see it.”"

While this prediction seems quite bold at this point, Boomer Esiason makes a good point about the lack of time Cam Newton has to actually adjust to the Patriots’ offense.  That is the one advantage Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer has over a talent like Newton.  They are familiar with the offense and know the offense.

As Esiason goes on to state, just because Newton is stronger, faster and an overall better athlete, it does not automatically win him the job, especially in a system lead by Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels.

Can a talent like Cam Newton learn the mental aspect of running the New England Patriots offense in such a short amount of time?

That is the challenge and that is what has Boomer Esiason saying hold your horses in getting too excited about Newton already winning the role over Jarrett Stidham.

Does Jarrett Stidham have the mental stamina to lead the New England Patriots?

So, Cam Newton has an uphill battle in terms of learning the offense.  But, does that automatically mean Jarrett Stidham is the more cerebral quarterback at this point?

Well, with the mistakes he has made in practice to go along with the hip injury he is reportedly playing through, a young quarterback like Stidham not only has the battle with a veteran quarterback to deal with, he has to battle his own growth as an NFL quarterback.

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There will be ups and downs and what will win Stidham the New England Patriots starting quarterback role is how well he reacts, adjusts and responds to the downs and also the criticisms that comes his way.

With the understanding that there is still a long way to go, Stidham does seem mentally ready to make a comeback in this particular quarterback battle.

"“Camp’s long,” Stidham said following practice on Thursday, via  “There’s a lot of things that go into it, but I think for me my main focus, whether it was last year during the season, this off-season, this training camp, has always been just to improve every single day.  There’s never a perfect practice, that’s the beauty of football – you get to learn from good things you do and from bad things you do.  For me, I’ve just really tried to continue to learn from my mistakes, learn from the things I’m doing correctly and keep moving forward and continue to try to get better.”"

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If Jarrett Stidham is going to make Boomer Esiason’s prediction come true, he is going to have to continue to compete hard and learn from the mistakes he is making.  He also has to prove to both Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels that he can lead the New England Patriots offense both in the huddle and on the sidelines.

That is another area where Cam Newton is winning in this quarterback battle.