As training camp nears, the discussion regarding who will become the next Patriots quarterback gets hotter. When Tom Brady announced he was leaving the team in March it was a general consensus Jarrett Stidham would step into the role next. However, conversations were halted a bit when the team unexpectedly signed Cam Newton in mid-June. What did this mean for Stidham? It’s been said Newton was not guaranteed the starting job in his contract, despite most believing the signing inevitably meant that. Is it possible for Stidham to beat out a veteran and former MVP in Cam Newton to become the quarterback?
There are many discussions supporting either of these two becoming the starter. The quickest argument against Stidham would have to be his inexperience. He was signed just last year and barely got any time during the regular season in 2019. Although this is true, it is difficult to disregard what he has been able to see and do during his short time in Foxboro.
Jarrett Stidham was drafted into a great organization and was lucky enough to be under the mentorship of Tom Brady for an entire season. He has had the ability to work with coaches Belichick and McDaniels and learn the way the team operates. He is familiar with the playbook, has already suited up and played preseason games, which helps build chemistry with receivers. Experience in the pros may not be on his side, but familiarity with the team is a big plus.
There is also something that some may often overlook or forget from last season. Before the season began, the Patriots had three quarterbacks signed: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham. Based on what they saw in camp the coaches decided to release Hoyer and have Stidham officially become the backup. Going into the season with only two quarterbacks on the team would show a lot of confidence in Stidham to take over if anything were to happen to Brady.
Competition can sometimes bring out the best in people. Having signed Newton and now appearing to have to compete for the job could benefit Stidham as well. Without preseason games this year there won’t be many chances for Stidham to show more of what he can do. But competing alongside Cam could help elevate his game and drive to win the job.
It’s easy to start by saying Cam Newton is a former MVP and that, of course, means something. He has shown great ability and athleticism in his career, and the potential of what he can bring to the Patriots is vast. Having Newton as the starter allows for the team to have a completely new offense than what we are accustomed to from the last 20 years. This is a bonus for the team because opponents will not know what to expect from them, more so than usual. He also has a big arm and can run the ball just as well.
Newton also has quite an obvious similarity to former New England quarterback, Tom Brady. Being selected at number 199 in the draft, Brady has always used that as motivation throughout his career. Since being released by the Carolina Panthers Cam has developed a similar mindset. As seen in posts on Instagram, he's said he has kept notes on how many teams weren't willing to take a chance with him. He has prepared to prove all the doubters wrong, just as Brady did. This type of motivation is not something Cam is used to; especially since he is a former Heisman trophy winner and drafted number one overall in 2011.
Something interesting to also keep in mind for this season is the mindset of Bill Belichick as well. There has been lots of chatter regarding who will be more successful without their former counterpart, Belichick or Brady? Working with Newton and feeling the itch to prove yourself even more could be beneficial to all.
What is the right answer?
The conversation of who will be the better next Patriots quarterback will continue until the position is finally filled. And even then, there will still be doubters if the right decision was made. It's easy to pinpoint the negatives of a player, but the Patriots seem to be set up well with either guy they go with. This season has been set up to be far more interesting than usual and this decision will make it even more so.
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