Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots prey on young quarterbacks

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

After studying the schedule, the New England Patriots might face off against seven young quarterbacks under the age of 24 in 2020.

The New England Patriots have never lost to a rookie quarterback in Foxborough during Bill Belichick’s coaching regime.

In fact, Belichick’s Patriots have impressively gone 19-5 against rookie quarterbacks, which includes a profound 12-0 record at home.

Over the last 20 years, defeating Belichick and the Patriots has been no walk-in-the-park for any team, but especially for a team with a rookie quarterback. It’s something that has only happened five times and from five different players — only two of which have gone on to win a Super Bowl:

  • ‘04 Steelers- Ben Roethlisberger (18-24, 196 yards, 2 TDs, 126.4 QBR, two-time Super Bowl champion)
  • ‘09 Jets- Mark Sanchez (14-22, 163 yards, 1 TD, 101.1 QBR)
  • ‘10 Browns- Colt McCoy (14-19, 174 yards, 101.6 QBR)
  • ‘12 Seahawks- Russell Wilson (16-27, 293 yards, 3 TDs, 133.7 QBR, Super Bowl champion)
  • ‘13 Jets- Geno Smith (15-35, 233 yards, 1 TD, 71.9 QBR)

Looking at the schedule, there’s a chance that the Patriots will see seven players that are all under the age of 24 this season.

That list includes two rookie quarterbacks (Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert), two second-year quarterbacks (Arizona’s Kyler Murray and Denver’s Drew Lock), and three third-year quarterbacks (Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Buffalo’s Josh Allen, and New York’s Sam Darnold).

Although it’s unlikely that Tua Tagovaoila is going to be the starter in Week 1 for Miami, the Patriots and Dolphins will open up their season against each other at Gillette Stadium. If he is the starter, Tua will be the 25th rookie quarterback to start a game against the Patriots.

Even if he isn’t starting in Week 1, he could very well be starting by the time the rematch rolls around in Week 15 down in Miami.

After signing Tyrod Taylor (who has played well against the Patriots in his career) and drafting Justin Herbert, the Chargers find themselves in a similar quarterback situation as the Dolphins.

It’s unknown when Herbert is going to become the full-time starter, but he very well could be by the time the Patriots travel to Los Angeles for their Week 13 matchup — which would make him the 26th rookie quarterback to start against the Patriots.

Denver’s Drew Lock is still just 23 years old, and while he also only has five NFL starts under is belt, the second-year QB out of Missouri went 4-1 last season after coming back off the Broncos’ IR. Denver GM and legendary quarterback John Elway has all the faith and confidence in the world in Lock, which should be telling.

While the Jets’ Sam Darnold is still somehow just 22 years old, he already has two years of experience playing in the NFL.

That said, he’s only faced the Patriots and Belichick twice in four potential games — he missed two of those games to injury. In the two games he was healthy for, he largely foundered — New York was outscored 71-3 by New England — and statistically had the worst game of his career last season at home versus the Pats.

On Sunday Night Football in Week 10, the Patriots will tangle with the Ravens and the reigning league MVP, Lamar Jackson. Jackson took over the NFL in his second season last year and embarrassed New England and Belichick’s defense in Baltimore. He is the ultimate dual-threat weapon, and the Patriots will have theirs hands full with him again this season.

The Patriots also play against the Arizona Cardinals for the first time with second-year quarterback Kyler Murray under center. Although he’s not a rookie, it’s still a noteworthy game against an opponent that the Patriots aren’t too familiar with (these teams haven’t played each other since 2016).

Last but not least, Belichick and the Patriots defense will face the strong arm of Josh Allen and the Bills in Weeks 8 and 16. Buffalo upgraded their team this offseason and are the best team suited to take the AFC East from the Patriots. The addition of Stefon Diggs and a playoff-caliber defense is going to be tough for the Pats to overcome.

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It’s still unknown what to predict of the year ahead for New England in 2020, but it’s fair to say that this season is going to be one of the most interesting and fascinating yet for the Patriots and their fans. Hopefully, Bill Belichick and his fellow defensive coaches and players will be able to continue their success against young quarterback competition.