Despite no positive Covid-19 tests coming back on Wednesday, the New England Patriots still have some obstacles to climb prior to their now-postponed game on Monday night. At this point in time, all signs point to the Patriots playing but they again might be without starting quarterback Cam Newton. Although he is participating in virtual meetings this week, Ian Rapoport has reported that it is “not likely” that Newton will play this week.
Coming off a poor showing from both Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4, whoever the Patriots start at quarterback will have extremely low expectations heading into the upcoming game against the Denver Broncos. However, given the circumstances this week — at home, no game day travel needed and playing a Broncos team that has struggled on both sides of the ball — whoever does end up playing should be set up to succeed more than they were this past week,
When looking at the case for Brian Hoyer, he obviously has the most experience at the position and in the system and it’s hard for him to be as bad as he was on Monday night, so you have to expect he will be better if he’s given another opportunity. Also, with limited on-field practice time due to the shutdown of Gillette Stadium, Hoyer could be in line to play again because you have no problem plugging him in and having confidence he can at least manage the game and execute the game plan given to him.
But, after some inexcusable mistakes on Monday night and being replaced by Jarrett Stidham in the third quarter, Belichick and his staff may think otherwise.
As for Stidham, the situation he was thrown into the other night wasn’t the best situation for the second year quarterback to succeed. Coming in cold after being inactive for the first three weeks due to a groin/hip injury he suffered in training camp and being asked to come back down 10 points in Arrowhead Stadium against the defending Super Bowl champs. However, after his first drive where he hit N’Keal Harry in the corner of the end zone for his first career touchdown pass, Stidham looked uncomfortable and jittery at times in the pocket and running the offense.
Obviously, a week of practice and on-field preparation would have been beneficial for him this week. The coaching staff might therefore be leaning towards the more seasoned Hoyer again, due to his experience and it being a must-win game heading into the bye week.
Both players certainly have a strong case to start on Sunday. However, I will take my fan hat off for a second and say that the Patriots should go to Jarrett Stidham instead of Brian Hoyer. It’s as simple as this: not only does his athleticism and arm talent allow the offense to be a bit more unpredictable, but it also shows the Patriots what they have in Stidham. It gives them a chance to see him in a full game — other than the preseason and garbage time snaps last year, they don’t have many meaningful snaps on Stidham other than the other night.
If they truly believe or want to know if Stidham is a potential long-term answer at the quarterback position, there comes a time where they need to see what he’s got from a full game of display. Facing a team that has struggled all year long and shouldn’t put too many points on the board, it appears as if Monday night is the perfect opportunity for that to happen.