Most people expect Cam Newton to win the New England Patriots‘ starting quarterback job, but they expect the competition to come from Jarrett Stidham. One expert says Stidham isn’t Newton’s biggest competition.
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There’s Only One Man Who Can Stop Cam Newton From Being the Patriots’ Starting QB
WEEI’s Andy Hart wrote about Newton’s drive to be the man to succeed Tom Brady as the quarterback of the Patriots. In the article, Hart poses the question to himself, without mentioning Stidham’s name specifically, Hart asks, is Newton battling the 2019 fourth-round pick for the starting spot.
Hart answers himself and expounds:
No, that competition isn’t some existential battle with the memory of departed GOAT Tom Brady. Nor is it a real-world race with second-year former fourth-round pick and fellow Auburn alum Jarrett Stidham, even if the young incumbent does have the minimal advantage of a year under his belt living the football life in New England. It certainly isn’t a fight to play with journeyman backup Brian Hoyer. Nope. The only man that Newton is competing with for the Patriots starting quarterback job – for the right to be the man to replace Brady in the record books after TB12’s historic 20-year record run in Foxborough – is himself.
Why Stidham Isn’t Newton’s Biggest Competition
Newton has been in the NFL for 9 years. Stidham has thrown four total passes in the league. Newton won the NFL MVP in 2015. Stidham didn’t even win the Heisman trophy at Auburn, unlike Newton at the same school. This isn’t meant to be a slight toward Stidham, because he certainly has some physical tools and what appears to be an awesome demeanor. However, if a nine-year veteran with Newton’s resume, who is still just 31 years old can’t beat out an inexperienced second-year player drafted in the fourth round, there’s a serious problem.
For Newton, that serious problem could be only one thing, and that’s health. Newton’s biggest challenge during training camp and the 2020 season is to stay healthy. As long as he does that, there’s every reason to believe he will be the man succeeding Brady with the Patriots.
Stidham’s Real Competition
The man Stidham should really be competing against is Brian Hoyer. While Newton should win the starting job, in the NFL, the backup quarterback is always just one play away from being the starter.
Stidham must prove he gives the Patriots a better chance to win than the uber-experienced Hoyer to make sure he remains in a position to see meaningful playing time in 2020. Because Newton is almost certainly going to run more often than Brady ever did, the opportunity to step in is more likely than it was last year when he backed up the G.O.A.T aka the throw-it-away king.
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