Patriots: Pass protection and WRs won’t give Jarrett Stidham fair chance even if he starts
By Jerry Trotta
The Patriots’ glaring roster deficiencies don’t even make starting Jarrett Stidham worth it.
If it were up to New England Patriots fans, they would likely choose to be put out of their misery and have this season end already. With a chance to player a spoiler against a division rival in Buffalo and avoid their first losing season since 2000, they laid an absolute egg, getting run out of their own stadium by a final score of 38-9.
The quarterback situation was once again the focal talking point, though we would argue the defense getting torched for 474 yards, which could’ve been more if Josh Allen hadn’t been pulled from a noncompetitive game, was the bigger takeaway.
However, we’ll hop on the bandwagon for the sake of argument. Cam Newton had another rough outing under center, and his latest subpar performance has analysts and pundits calling for backup Jarrett Stidham to start the final game of the campaign against the Jets.
As much as we understand that logic, why would the Patriots roll him out there if he wouldn’t even be getting a fair chance to showcase his talent?
If the Patriots were going to commit to a quarterback change, don’t you think they would’ve made it official several weeks ago…when their season was still capable of being saved? It’s clear they don’t think very highly of Stidham, so why pull the trigger now when his health would be compromised behind a ravaged offensive line?
Just as important is the Patriots’ struggling wide receiving corps, which, as evidenced by their handful of drops on Sunday night, would only make his job more difficult. The 2019 fourth-round pick doesn’t exactly exude confidence in the pocket to begin with, and starting him vs a surging Jets defense (no, that isn’t a lie) could only have negative consequences.
After entering in relief of Newton in the third quarter, he finished just 4-of-11 for 44 yards. Keep in mind that Buffalo had taken their foot off the gas pedal at that point, so it’s not like he was facing their best effort, and he still couldn’t do much of anything.
We get it. The three-time Pro Bowler has been taking all the first-team reps, whereas Stidham has been pulling the strings of the scout team while working in on some 7-on-7s. Taking that into account, rust is to be expected.
However, couldn’t you argue that he should’ve shown glimpses that he has the potential to be the long-term solution under center at some point during his five cameos off the bench in 2020? He’s attempted 44 passes this season and the coaching staff has learned nothing about him.
Starting him in one meaningless game against the Jets wouldn’t do much of anything to change that narrative, either.