Like a few other high-profile young guns on this year’s team, quarterback Jarrett Stidham has found himself on the inactive list for each of the Patriots’ first three games of the season. Quite the plot twist for the Auburn Tiger that appeared to be the de facto QB1 from roughly St Patrick’s Day until halfway through the summer this year, and if this season was anything close to normal, it’d be pretty easy to see Stidham’s three healthy scratches in a row and wonder exactly how he managed to get himself in the doghouse.
As with all things this year, though, this football season is not normal, and even though Jarrett appears to be the odd man out on the the game-day roster at the moment, to hear his coaches tell it, it’s certainly not due to a lack of skill, effort, smarts, or work ethic. In fact, they’ve been continually impressed with all of the characteristics we just mentioned, and to read between the lines a bit, think he’s got a bright future ahead of him if he keeps grinding.
From USA Today’s Patriots Wire, here’s New England quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch:
“He’s a pleasure to work with because all he wants to ever do is get better and all he wants to do is improve and find a way to be more a part of playing,” quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch said Tuesday. “And he’s done a tremendous job there in terms of his work ethic, watching film, spending extra time in the meeting room, spending extra time on the practice field, staying later on the field, making sure pregame warmup he’s always available before, you know, before kickoff, so to speak.
We’re so close to getting the Belichick “first guy in, last guy out” award.....maybe next time.
“And he’s truly motivated to improve and truly motivated to continue to get better. And he’s done a really good job of that every day and really taken to working a lot alongside of Cam and spending a lot of time with him as well. So it’s been a real cool thing to watch, and I’m really impressed with how motivated he has continued to be to get better and be, continue to be a participant on the offense.”
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was similarly effusive in his assessment:
“Stid has done a great job since he got here,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Tuesday. “He’s a great kid and loves the game football. Works really hard. Has put a lot of time and effort into his craft. He’s really an unselfish guy. Competed his butt off this whole year trying to learn and improve as a football player. Really continues to work really hard and prepare just as he would if he was starting, which is what he did last year as a rookie. He’s an unselfish guy. He will do anything to help the team. Practices well, practices hard, prepares every week to be ready to go. I have a lot of confidence in Jarrett and I see a lot of growth in him each week that he’s here.”
So while Jarrett Stidham and his NFL potential remains just as much of an enigma now as it was in March, and maybe even more so given the lack of a normal offseason and the complete subtraction of any preseason action at all, the Patriots offensive staff appears to be pleased with his development behind the scenes. He may very well not see the field at all this year, unless the Patriots elect to carry three QBs for certain games, or if, football gods forbid, disaster strikes.
In the meantime, though, it’s encouraging to hear the coaches sound off on a player putting in the hard work that most of us never see, to make sure that if/when their shot comes up, they’re ready.