After Tom Brady announced his departure last March, Jarrett Stidham remained as the only quarterback on the New England Patriots’ roster and the frontrunner to earn the starting position. One year later, however, his outlook has changed quite a bit.
Not only did Stidham end up not starting any games in 2020 due to the arrival of former league MVP Cam Newton ahead of training camp, he also saw the Patriots select Mac Jones in the first round of the NFL Draft earlier this year. With those two in the fold, and veteran Brian Hoyer also part of the equation, Stidham appears to be fighting for his roster life.
Still, the third-year man claims that he would find motivation in the competition and the team’s investment in another young quarterback.
“It definitely fires me up,” Stidham said earlier this week. “Last year, bringing in Cam before training camp, that fired me up to continue to get better and to continue to grow as a player. Definitely fired up to be competing against Mac, Hoy and Cam. It’s a great room. It’s a lot of fun to be in there, but, yeah, definitely fired up to compete against those guys every day.”
Stidham has reportedly had his moments so far this offseason, but mandatory minicamp has painted a different picture. Newton and Jones were clearly the top two guys in terms of opportunities, with Stidham next in line.
Jones’ exposure in particular caught the eye, given that New England has previously distributed repetitions based on seniority in the system rather than perceived status. With the 15th overall selection in this year’s draft now part of the equation, however, the Patriots have seemingly made a change.
In turn, Stidham now looks like QB3 rather than a player fighting for the starting position. Nonetheless, he pointed out that he would focus on himself instead of worrying about any of the surrounding noise.
“My approach hasn’t changed at all,” Stidham said. “Everyday when I come into the building my approach is to learn from the people around me — obviously the coaches, the players that have been playing a long time in this league — and learn as much as possible and continue to grow. Drafting Mac, that hasn’t really changed my approach. I can control what I can control, and that’s how hard I work, how prepared I am.
“Those things haven’t changed. My mindset has really been the same. ... My goal is to be the quarterback here and to start football games for a really long time in this league. The mindset of that has never changed and never will change. But, like I said, I’m going to continue to work as hard as I possibly can to really improve and continue to do what I need to do in order to get better and to help this team.”
While Stidham appears to be destined for a backup role at best judged by his usage in minicamp, a lot can change after New England’s summer break. The fight for roster spots really only begins in training camp. And if last year has taught us one thing it is that anything is possible.