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Mike Giardi Weighs In
NFL Network’s Mike Giardi recently tackled a question that has been running rampant throughout the various conversation circles in Patriots nation, and that’s: why hasn’t Belichick made a switch at quarterback? The Patriots are 6-7 on the season and 6-6 with Newton as a starting quarterback. That’s not horrible considering the team has had injuries, free agency, and COVID-19 opt-outs drastically impact its offensive line, not to mention a lack of performance at wide receiver and tight end.
Still, this is New England, home of 6 Super Bowl titles in 20 years. Newton replaced Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, so the expectations are high and patience is thin.
Newton also had to deal with his own COVID-19 diagnosis as well as learning a completely new system after sitting out nearly an entire season rehabbing his own injuries. Most fans and members of the media don’t care or choose to recognize these factors, nor do they acknowledge Newton has been curtailed quite a bit by overly safe playcalling built to protect him but has instead made him look limited and incapable of succeeding in a traditional passing game.
Despite all of these issues, Newton has completely conformed his game to do whatever the Patriots coaches have asked. If what Giardi is saying in the interview spot below is accurate, Belichick appears to have great admiration and respect for Newton’s sacrifice. That has a lot to do with the coach sticking with the veteran quarterback rather than turning to second-year man Jarrett Stidham.
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) December 17, 2020
Let us also not forget Newton has been stellar as a running option. He has run for 451 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. In total, he has accounted for 16 scores.
That’s not a small factor considering the team leans so heavily on the run game.
One word that is seldom used to describe Belichick is loyal. He’s known as a shrewd businessman in the world of football who will make a personnel decision based purely on winning and saving money to keep his team in the right spot financially and competitively.
Perhaps people don’t know him quite as well as they think.
Belichick has demonstrated loyalty to Newton because of many of the things Giardi mentioned, and despite what others have said, he still believes the 2015 NFL MVP gives the Patriots the best chance to win each week. When and if Belichick makes the decision to go to another quarterback, he will have discussed the matter with Newton in advance.
It is my belief Belichick will go to Stidham if the Patriots are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. That can only happen this week if New England loses to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. If they win, they will remain alive and their postseason chances will improve slightly heading into the final two games of the season against the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets.
The Patriots would love to have an opportunity to play the Jets in the final regular-season game of the season in a win-and-you-are-in situation. Tons must happen for that scenario to come to fruition.
You get the feeling Belichick would like nothing more than to find himself in that spot with Newton leading the way so both men could stare down their critics.
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