Legendary Patriots assistant Dante Scarnecchia knows what’s up when Cam Newton takes on Jarrett Stidham.
The New England Patriots QB room underwent serious turnover this offseason — but, then again, so did every part of the operation.
Some of the team’s typical rocks, from the linebacking crew to the sidelines, won’t be responsible for any success the Pats have in 2020.
Dante Scarnecchia, the dearly departed OL legend who drifted off into a well-deserved retirement this offseason, is certainly among the traveling party’s biggest losses. But he’s not worried about the on-field product at all, despite all the opt outs and QB noise.
Even though one of the team’s newest additions in Cam Newton hasn’t spent any time in Bill Belichick’s locker room yet, Scarnecchia doesn’t think he’ll have any trouble fitting in. In fact, Scarnecchia assumes Newton’s already a cut or two above the competition.
“I think [Newton] has a huge edge, because of what he’s done in the league,” Scarnecchia told the gathered media. “The guy was an MVP [in 2015]. We played against him a number of times, have a huge respect for him as a player and leader, and the things he’s done. This guy, from a skillset, [is] a lot different from guys we’ve had in there at quarterback over the years.”
See, that’s more like it. We all love Jarrett Stidham, but not everyone in the Patriots’ orbit needs to be a Belichick-esque quote machine here. It’s fine to admit that, despite his one year of Brady-led knowledge, Newton is still a former MVP, and Stiddy is … a well-liked guy.
Of course, Scarnecchia still sees Stidham as a part of the future — after all, if Cam takes advantage of his prove-it deal, he’ll be long gone when the first fan is let into Gillette Stadium again someday.
“Stidham has great feet and ability to move and avoid the rush and create and do a lot of similar things,” he said. “I don’t think he’s to Cam’s skillset, but this guy is a pretty good player. He also has a tremendous work ethic, and he’s a smart guy. I know this, you have to be a smart guy to play quarterback in that system. Having said all that, the cupboard is not half empty by any means. I think there is a lot of enthusiasm. The situation looks a lot different than it did two months ago.”
Alright, so for now, this competition isn’t close. It’s refreshing to hear an authority state that emphatically, without dancing around some hallucinated even playing field.
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is a much different player and personality than Tom Brady, but he won't be changing the team's culture.
Hey, any chance you want to step in after Marcus Cannon’s departure and teach the new guys how to block for a mobile QB, Dante? You can even do it over Zoom!