Retired tight end Ben Watson presented a fairly decent and logical argument as to why New England Patriots fans should have confidence in Jarrett Stidham.
It’s hard to blame anyone in Patriots Nation for harboring misgivings about the future of the quarterback position in New England right now.
That’s what happens when the greatest to ever lace them up takes his cleats and his talent down to Tampa Bay unexpectedly in what would have been Year 21 as QB1 for the Patriots.
With Tom Brady (impossibly) a Buccaneer all of a sudden, the reins are turned over to Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-round draft pick from last year who had a flaming-hot preseason before a few untimely and unseemly cameos during the regular season in relief of Brady.
The jury’s now out on just what Stidham represents for the Patriots.
Some think he’s primed to take over for Brady and ready to help the Bill Belichick machine keep humming along without missing a beat. Others think he’ll be gone by this time next year, replaced by a quarterback from this year’s (or next year’s) draft … or maybe Deshaun Watson if the world really goes haywire and Bill O’Brien loses his remaining marbles.
One guy who’s not worried in the slightest about Stidham in the here and now? Retired tight end Ben Watson, who had a chance to play with Stidham during the 2019 season and spend time with him in practice and during meetings.
On FS1’s “First Things First,” Watson gave a wide-ranging interview this past Tuesday on all things NFL and Patriots. At one point he was asked about Brady’s departure and what it means for the Pats in 2020, and Watson expressed significant confidence in Stidham’s ability to take over, per NESN’s Adam London.
"“Stidham has all that there needs to be for somebody who’s going to be successful. He’s a student of the game. You hear that a lot, but what that really means is that when we’re in the meeting rooms, he’s paying attention. When they’re in the quarterback room, he’s paying attention. When he’s on the field, he’s taking instruction from the coaches.”"
That’s all fine and good on the surface, but is he then able to relay that information and knowledge on the fly to his teammates? That is, after all, one of the most challenging aspects of playing quarterback — especially in the National Football League.
Watson says Stidham’s perfectly capable of doing just that, though.
"“He’s able to disseminate information to the guys in the huddle. He’s able to encourage them and kind of go through the minor details about route-running, about reading coverages, all those things. He’s eager to learn and he has a certain humility about him, with confidence.”"
The best part of Watson’s interview came at the end though:
"“(Stidham) had a chance to learn under arguably the greatest quarterback to play the game. He soaked that in for a year. Patriots fans should be confident that he wouldn’t be in that room if Coach (Bill) Belichick didn’t think he could help the team.”"
That’s a great argument to be made on Watson’s part. If Belichick didn’t think Stidham had what it takes to be successful at this level, he probably would have moved on from him by now.
It should be at least enough evidence at this point for us to give Stidham the benefit of the doubt until we see him in starting action.