The first two years of Jarrett Stidham’s career with the New England Patriots have been quiet. The former fourth-round draft selection served as Tom Brady’s backup during his 2019 rookie campaign, and continued to play second (and, at times, third) fiddle in 2020 as well.
Heading into a pivotal third season in the system, the 24-year-old appears to be in a difficult situation. Not only did the Patriots re-sign last year’s starting quarterback, Cam Newton, to a one-year contract, they also are projected to add a quarterback early in the draft.
Accordingly, Stidham appears to be in a do-or-die situation. However, the young passer is trying his best to hold onto a job and has adopted a proactive approach: as first reported by current ESPN analyst and former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, Stidham has organized a workout session with “a majority of Patriots pass catchers” in Orange County, California this week.
The camp, referred to as “Pats West,” is also featuring two of New England’s recent free agency additions: tight end Hunter Henry and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne are participating in the workout sessions as well. Henry even held his introductory media conference call coming straight off a throwing session with Stidham.
While he would not go into any details, he spoke highly about being able to meet some of his new teammates for the first time.
“It’s awesome,” Henry said while sitting in his car. “That’s the best part about football — it’s just the guys, the locker room, the guys you get to meet, all that kind of stuff is just a blast. Looking forward to immersing myself into that locker room, the culture, everything. It’s exciting. It’s good to be able to kind of do that now, even in the offseason.”
Also participating alongside the third-year QB and the Patriots’ newest additions are wide receivers Jakobi Meyers and Kristian Wilkerson as well as tight ends Devin Asiasi and Matt LaCosse.
The workout session, meanwhile, is not the first of its kind. Stidham organized one last offseason as well, hosting a group of pass catchers on the East Coast. Now, Southern California is his workout location of choice.
Whether or not the session will help him play a more prominent role in the Patriots’ offense this season remains to be seen, but at the very least it gives New England’s recent acquisition an opportunity to get acquainted to the system and some of their new teammates. As for Stidham, he seems to be well aware that there is some increased urgency for him this year.
“He knows this offseason is the offseason to grab it and take it,” said his personal quarterback coach, Jordan Palmer, during a recent appearance on the Patriots Talk podcast. “Last year, it looked like things were heading in that direction and then Cam coming in ... the way things shook out, I’m not privy to that. But I would assume they’re going to bring someone in to compete, and Jarrett’s going to get himself ready to compete and fill in the leadership void on this team and looking to step up.
“He knows how important this year is and what’s expected of him. He’s been in this system with Josh McDaniels for a few years now. He’s healthy, he’s in a good spot, and it’s time. I think that’s how he looks at it, and as his coach out here that’s how I look at it.”
Stidham opened the 2020 regular season as New England’s number three behind Cam Newton and Brian Hoyer, and ended up appearing in five games. While he did supplant Hoyer as the team’s QB2, he failed to show much improvement after an already quiet rookie season.
The former fourth-round draft pick finished his second year as a Patriot by completing just 22 of 44 pass attempts for 256 yards as well as two touchdowns and three interceptions. Stidham also was sacked four times.