Jarrett Stidham as good as Bill Belichick apparently thinks he is?
The answer to that question will determine how the rest of Belichick’s career turns out with the New England Patriots.
Stidham had some red flags when he was drafted out of Auburn a year ago. He didn’t play as well in 2018 as he did in 2017.
Once touted as a first-round pick, he slid to the second round in most draft projections a year ago. He was often compared to Derek Car.
But then he fell to the fourth round when Belichick grabbed him. He only threw four passes in his rookie season, completing two for 14 yards with no touchdowns and one pick.
Belichick, though, seems ready to hand him the starting job now that Tom Brady has moved on. He must have liked how Stidham looked in practice last year and in the preseason.
His only real competition is Brian Hoyer, who knows the Patriots system from his previous stints with the team but is the definition of a journeyman. Still, Belichick didn’t sign a veteran free agent quarterback or draft a quarterback or even a wide receiver.
It could be noted that Belichick gave Brady the job when Drew Bledsoe got hurt even thouogh he went only 1 for 3 for six yards and no touchdowns or picks in his rookie season.
Belichick obviously thinks he can plug Stidham into Josh McDaniels’ system and keep the Patriots winning.
If Stidham can do that, it will add to Belichick’s legacy. If he flops, it will be noted that Belichick has coached seven years in the league – five with Cleveland two with the Patriots— and In those seven years, he made the playoffs only once with Cleveland.
He did go 11-5 with Matt Cassel in 2008 when Brady was hurt but it wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs.
Of course, the Patriots will still be favored to win the AFC East and go to the playoffs, but the real test will be once they get there. Last year, with Brady, they lost at home to Tennessee, their first home playoff game since 2012.
Can they do better without Brady? We’ll see. At least we will if there is a season.