Bill Belichick didn’t want to add any more fuel to the fire.
Moments after his New England Patriots were manhandled 24-3 on Thursday Night Football by the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium, Belichick shut down a series of questions about his starting quarterback moving forward.
He told ESPN’s Mike Reiss this when asked if he was sticking with Cam Newton as his starter:
“Yeah, great question Mike, really glad you asked that, Cam’s our quarterback.”
The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin pressed Belichick on the concept, sounding seemingly shocked the coach was sticking with Newton after a game that saw the quarterback complete nine passes on just 16 attempts for 119 yards and an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
“He’s our quarterback. Think I just answered that one, Ben.”
Belichick seemingly made himself clear on Thursday night, but even further clarification was sought on Friday morning. Belichick offered more of the same, but with a bit more context on his decision.
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Belichick Explains Sticking With Newton
During Belichick’s press conference on Friday, he reiterated a very simple, but consistent point that channeled his inner Herm Edwards. He talked about why he has gone to Jarrett Stidham in spots this season, but also why those haven’t been permanent decisions.
Sometimes there are situations in a game where you can put somebody in, but we’re trying to win the game. So, that’s what we’re here for is to win the game. It was the opposite situation last week against the Chargers, but the point’s to try to win. That’s what’s important to us.
So is it that the coaching staff just doesn’t believe Stidham is ready to take on the full responsibility as a starting quarterback? That’s exactly what it sounds like. Belichick continued:
All of the things we’ve talked about. It’s true of most every second-year player. The knowledge of our system, the knowledge of the league, building good habits, building good fundamentals, gaining experience. Those things are true for all players at that stage in their development.
This has to be frustrating for Stidham, but it’s also likely pretty upsetting for Newton as well. Here is video of the press conference:
Is This the Right Decision?
Sticking with Newton only makes sense if the Patriots plan on opening up the playbook and allowing him to throw the ball down the field more and diversifying the offensive attack. I know the Patriots want to play to Newton’s strengths, and much of that has to do with running the football.
However, you cannot design a successful offense in the NFL that is so one dimensional. There is a concept permeating throughout Patriots Nation that Newton is incapable of making plays consistently with his arm. Quite honestly, I don’t know if that’s the case. He hasn’t been given an opportunity to sink or swim in that regard.
The Patriots are running a slightly more advanced, run-dominant college system against NFL teams and that’s an insult to every player on the roster, including Newton and Stidham.
If they are going to restrict Newton in this way, they may as well play Stidham if it’ll mean graduating to an NFL offense.
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