Expect the New England Patriots‘ quarterback situation to be one of the hottest topics of conversation throughout the year. Because of the compelling nature of the topic, it’s no surprise members of the media fired questions about Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, and the draft at owner Robert Kraft on Wednesday as spoke with reporters for more than 30 minutes via conference call.
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Kraft supported both Newton and Stidham but did leave most with the impression the Patriots still have to find their long-term solution at the position.
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Kraft on Newton
There is constant chatter surrounding the Patriots’ potential pursuit of Jimmy Garoppolo, despite the fact the team has already signed Cam Newton to a one-year deal.
“At this point in time, we’re trying to do what the best thing for us is,” the Patriots’ team owner said Wednesday on a conference call. “I think, in fairness to Cam, I’m not sure he had the proper weapons around him last year, and then he got COVID and there were a lot of things that happened.”
It appears Kraft is willing to give Newton the benefit of the doubt after acknowledging the many hardships he had to endure in 2020. Kraft added: “I really do believe that Cam getting COVID and what it did to the team, it changed a lot when we were in a good place.”
While Kraft’s words on Newton could be seen as endorsements, he did seem to stop short of acknowledging him as the unquestioned QB1 heading into the 2021 season. He was asked if he was comfortable with Newton as the starter, but he did not give a straight answer while staying positive with his response.
“Look, Cam is a terrific guy,” Kraft said. “I really enjoyed getting to know him last year. I’ll tell you this: Players on the team, in the locker room really love the guy. So in the end, I trust Coach Belichick’s ability to build a team and put the right players in the best position to succeed. Over the last couple decades, he’s done OK. When I’m privileged to have good managers … we give those people autonomy, and we let them do their thing.”
Newton doesn’t turn 32 until May, yet it sounds as if he’s 38.
Kraft on Stidham
In addition to comments on Newton, Kraft also spoke on Stidham. Kraft said he is “a really big fan” of Stidham, and he also called him a “a great young man.” Interestingly, Kraft wondered if Stidham had been a legitimate chance to be the starter.
“I don’t know that Jarrett has ever really gotten a fair shot,” Kraft said. “I know he’s eager to compete for an opportunity to play. I’m not sure he’s really been tested.”
That could be taken as a shot at the way Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have handled the 2019 fourth-round pick.
However, as Kraft said, he will trust Belichick to make the football decisions.
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