Last Friday, the New England Patriots held what was their first intrasquad scrimmage within Gillette Stadium of the 2020 season. While the scrimmage itself was on the lighter side, it gave outsiders a look at who the starters may be on opening day. New England’s roster was split into a blue and white team with several expected starters donning blue pinnies. Most notably, players such as N’Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu, and Cam Newton lead the blue team while Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, and Gunner Olszewski lead the white team. With Stidham and Hoyer splitting repetitions with the backups, Newton took every snap with the starters. This confirmed what many already believed – Cam Newton will start in Week 1.
Patriots Source on Stidham Losing the Starting Job
During the early months after Tom Brady left New England for Tampa Bay, many team reporters and eager fans had penciled in Stidham as the team’s plan at quarterback moving forward. While this could’ve been the case at the time, the Patriots made headlines by officially announcing their signing of Newton on July 8th. This, of course, signaled that a quarterback competition would take place throughout training camp. The signing raised questions as to why the team had waited until the middle of summer to sign Newton when his former team, the Carolina Panthers, had released the former MVP on March 24th. This debate has been ongoing throughout camp and last Friday’s edition of the “Felger & Mazz” radio program provided clarity.
The widely popular Boston sports radio show’s executive producer, James Stewart (Twitter: IAmJamesStewart) revealed text messages he had received from a reliable insider Patriots source. Stewart began by reading from his phone, “From somebody I trust, ‘#4 lost the job.” The show’s host, Michael Felger, followed up by asking Stewart if Stidham’s trip to Texas earlier this summer had anything to do with losing the starting job, “100 percent, Stidham leaving for Texas to go to a wedding and not completing their [Patriots] offseason program was a factor in Cam Newton being here.”
Stewart then offered up another text message, “My phone has just said, “Stidham will be taken seriously in the quarterback room when he stops acting like a fan and acts more like an offensive leader.” Later in the segment, Stewart confirmed that Stidham has been “terrified” of New England’s defense in practice, a statement that may help explain Stidham’s poor camp.
Jarrett Stidham Camp Play
Simply put, Stidham’s play thus far through camp has looked nowhere near the level of an NFL starting quarterback. In addition to suffering a minor hip injury, Stidham has reportedly made several subpar defensive reads, leading to turnovers. Statistics from Jeff Howe (Twitter: jeffphowe) as of last Friday, Stidham has completed 59 passes on 81 attempts, a completion percentage of 72.8, and has thrown seven interceptions. Comparably, over that same period Newton has attempted over double the number of passes Stidham, going 120 of 188 for a 63.8 completion percentage. Moreover, Newton has thrown just five interceptions throughout the team’s eleven practices.
Anyone who believes Jarrett Stidham is still the starting quarterback has simply not been paying attention. Perhaps Stidham could develop into a starter, but he has a lot of maturing to do before he gets there.
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