Saturday night, the New England Patriots defeated the Tennessee Titans in Nissan Stadium 22-17 in their second game of the preseason. Most of the stories leading up to the game had little to do with Jarrett Stidham, but it was the rookie QB who stole the show as soon as he stepped on the field.
Tennessee’s defense looked sharp throughout the entire game and really pressured New England’s offense in the first half. However, the second half was a completely different story. The Patriots mounted a comeback with cleaner, faster football from some of the young Patriots looking to stick around.
In the days leading up to Saturday, many enjoyed the reunion between Titans head coach Mike Vrabel and his former team, especially his bantering with Tom Brady during dual practices. The biggest news surrounding the team, however, came out Friday when reports said the NFL would reinstate Josh Gordon, thus thickened Brady’s receiving depth this season.
But during the game, no one could take their eyes off of the potential future of this Patriots offense. While backup quarterback Brian Hoyer got the start, it was the rookie QB, Jarrett Stidham who continued to impress in and out of the pocket.
Saturday night, Stidham threw for 193 yard and one touchdown. It was that one touchdown, though, that has Patriots nation talking about his future with the team.
In one pro-like drive, Stidham led the offense on a 99-yard run late in the fourth quarter, scoring on third and 12th with a beautiful 23-yard pass to Damoun Patterson. This touchdown secured the win for New England.
“I trust my guys to go make those plays and sure enough they did,” said Stidham in his postgame press conference. “I don’t need to put the ball in too much danger but overall I thought we did a good job.”
While the rookie has a ways to go before he gets a starting job in the NFL (especially if he plans on hanging around until Brady retires), he’s beginning to catch the eye of the big man in charge.
“Stidham’s got a good arm, I think he throws the ball accurately,” Belichick said at his postgame press conference. “I think he has shown that all the way through from Baylor to Auburn to Pro Day and the spring workouts.”
Praise from BB shows that this organization sees the potential in this young QB. Many thought the predecessor for Brady would be Garoppolo, but seeing that Brady wouldn’t be done anytime soon, he sought his shot with the 49ers.
Stidham's Role as the Rookie QB
Stidham, however, is in his first season as Brady enters his 20th, giving the rookie a few years to learn from the GOAT before his name is called to start. Since Brady is planning on playing until he is 45, that gives Stidham two or three seasons to prove that the job could someday belong to him.
For now, the rookie is just trying to stay on the roster and be considered for a backup spot. While Patriots fans continue to talk about this kid’s future in New England, Stidham is remaining focused on getting better with every opportunity.
“I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and just continue to grow,” said Stidham. “I am trying to make whatever play I can to help the drive, to help the team win. That’s really all I care about is helping the team win.”