Patriots: Rumor suggests players ‘didn’t trust’ Jarrett Stidham in 2020
By Jerry Trotta
Remember last offseason when certain members of the media were declaring Jarrett Stidham as the long-term answer at quarterback for the New England Patriots?
Those individuals probably wish they can have those takes back, because the team is currently in dire need of a starting gunslinger and there hasn’t been a shred of buzz hinting that Stidham’s number will be called upon in the coming months.
The fact that the 2019 fourth-round pick only attempted 44 passes in a season where starter Cam Newton ranked 30th in QBR was a massive indictment on Stidham and the coaching staff’s overall lack of conviction in his ability to run the offense.
As it turns out, however, those trust issues might’ve ran deeper than just coaching personnel. According to Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal, there were people (players?) in the Patriots building who lacked faith in Stidham and weren’t overly thrilled about the concept of him potentially replacing Newton as the starter amid his struggles.
Here’s why Jarrett Stidham wasn’t thrust into the starting role last season.
"“What people need to keep in mind, that Cam playing and starting … I came to learn was more about how the other players viewed Stidham, more than anything else,” Bedard said. “There was not much faith in the building (in him). And you could even see that when he got into the games and the way he conducted the huddle.“For whatever reason, and I don’t know if it was the training camp injury or the offseason thing or what have you, or the way he just conducts himself. There’s not a lot of belief (in him) in that building. And there was the feeling within the team that if they turned the keys over to Stidham, that it would become a complete debacle down the stretch and that wouldn’t be good for anybody.”"
Well, this insight certainly paints a clearer picture as to why the Patriots kept the faith in Newton for as long as they did in 2020. The former MVP really struggled to regain form following his bout with COVID-19, and fans understandably responded by calling for Stidham to get a string of games as the starter.
After all, why would you bench Newton on multiple occasions throughout the year in favor of Stidham only to go back to the 31-year-old for the next matchup? Seeing as though Newton was on a one-year contract for the veteran minimum, fans wondered about the harm in the coaching staff seeing what they have in a player they used a mid-round draft pick on just a year ago.
This rumor certainly appears to have the answer to those burning questions. Whether it’s a matter of how Stidham carries himself as a professional or something as simple as a lack of talent, there was clearly an underlying narrative that prevented him from having any real shot at taking the starting job away from Newton, who — let’s be honest — didn’t justify keeping the gig for as long as he did in the first place.