Pats’ Pulpit’s Brian M. Hines was asked by a reader for his predictions on the Patriots’ quarterback situation moving forward. Hines delivered a specific prediction even drilling down through the potential depth chart at the position.
When exploring who will be that bridge player at quarterback, a reunion with Newton is likely at the top of the list. I know many of you just rolled your eyes in disgust reading that, but Newton knows the system and has proven he still deserves to start in this league. It wasn’t always perfect, but remember the circumstances he went through this year (learning a new offense with no offseason, league’s worst supporting cast, contracting Covid-19, etc., etc.). He performed well over stretches throughout the season and if given a normal offseason and more talent at his disposal, should get New England back in the playoffs next season.
Hines went on to talk about the Patriots bringing Jarrett Stidham back as the team’s back up again, but also adding a rookie to the mix for depth and a bit of a project for the future.
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The Rookie QB
Obviously, the Patriots have to draft a quarterback. You can’t assume the team is convinced Stidham is their answer down the road. If they thought that, he would have taken over for Newton in Monday’s game, and perhaps Cam wouldn’t have been signed at all.
Because of this dynamic, the Patriots have to add a young quarterback to their roster who they believe has a chance to become the man in 2022 and beyond. Perhaps that is practice squad quarterback Jake Dolegala. The organization seems to be fond of him. We’ll see, but conventional wisdom suggests the Patriots will be using one of their draft picks–though probably not the first-round selection–on a QB.
Who could blame Stidham if he was a little frustrated?
He hasn’t looked spectacular when he has had opportunities to play, but that’s one of the problems…Stidham has barely had chances.
The 24-year-old has thrown a total of 37 passes in his NFL career in the regular season. He’s completed just 54% of those throws for 226 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. Those numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt but are still worse than what the team has gotten from Newton, and Stidham doesn’t bring the same leadership qualities or presence in the run game.
Unless he’s given an opportunity soon, it would be a shock if Stidham is long for Boston.
Count me as someone who believes Newton can be an excellent quarterback for the Patriots in 2021. I don’t think you can oversell the impact of Newton picking up a completely new offense, coming off major injuries, and doing it in a season that saw COVID-19 not only impact every team in the NFL’s preparation but also impacted him personally when he contracted the virus.
We all hope 2021 is an easier year as it pertains to the virus and a bit of normalcy. If Newton and the Patriots have a full training camp, the results will be better than most expect.
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