Jarrett Stidham has already started assuming the role of leader with the New England Patriots. The second-year pro is already the odds-on favorite to be the starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2020 season, and the man tasked with replacing Tom Brady.
Clearly, he understands as much about this as can be expected as he has taken some huge steps toward taking the team as his own. In addition to organizing throwing sessions with wide receivers like fellow second-year-pro N’Keal Harris, and others, Stidham has also continued building a bond with a man he figures to lean on quite a bit in his first year as a starter.
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Center David Andrews missed all of 2019 with blood clots in his lungs. He says he is ready to go for the 2020 season, but there is still understandable caution as the Patriots have to make sure Andrews’ health is solid for the upcoming campaign.
These concerns are part of the reason the Patriots drafted Dustin Woodard out of Memphis in the April NFL Draft. It’s obviously preferable for the Patriots that the 27-year-old, two-time Super Bowl champion regain his place as the starting center, and that has a lot to do with the veteran establishing a bond with every quarterback on the roster, but especially Stidham, with whom the franchise’s immediate hopes may rest upon.
In an interview that appears on Patriots.com via video conference, Andrews talks about Stidham, the other quarterbacks, and the importance of connecting with the men he snaps the ball to regularly.
Jarrett is a great kid. I was still able, especially during the season at times, we would hang out a lot and stuff. Whatever quarterback is in that room, I try to build a bond with them, whether it’s Jimmy (Garoppolo), Brian (Hoyer), Danny Etling. Whoever is in there, you try to build a bond because it’s obviously one play away from anyone playing. That’s just the way it is.”
Andrews also spoke about how he is hopeful to see the same kind of growth from Year to Year 2 for Stidham that he saw in his own game.
I look back on my rookie year and can remember the growth I saw from my rookie season to my second year and how the games start to click a little bit and make sense a little bit more, so that for all those players it’s just a natural thing coming from that first to second year. Your first year is such a whirlwind. It’s such a long year from going from bowl games to training to (NFL Scouting) Combine to pro day to OTAs, minicamps, all that, to training camp. For a year, it’s non-stop. The growth from your first to your second year is so huge.
It appears Stidham knows he needs the support and respect of his teammates. Starting with an offensive and team leader like Andrews is a smart approach. His next task, of which he’s likely already begun, is to impress offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and head coach/general manager Bill Belichick.