Every team faces some questions heading into a new season, but few are as big as the one the New England Patriots currently encounter at quarterback: with future Hall of Famer Tom Brady having left the organization in free agency, the team will have to decide between seasoned veteran and long-time Brady backup Brian Hoyer and unproven second-year passer and 2019’s number two option Jarrett Stidham.
The latter is the favorite to win the job after already beating Hoyer out for the backup role behind Brady last year, but questions still remain. After all, Stidham has only 15 regular season snaps on his résumé and attempted only four passes — all of them in garbage time. The former fourth-round draft pick could turn into a viable franchise quarterback, but based on his limited track record everything seems to be on the table.
It is therefore little surprising to see Sports Illustrated’ Conor Orr name the quarterback position as New England’s biggest weakness heading into the 2020 season:
New England Patriots
QUARTERBACK: Save this clipping for 20 years from now when the Jarrett Stidham/Steven Belichick dynasty has just polished off the Patriots’ 25th Super Bowl title. Whatever. Jarrett Stidham is going to be fine. Good, maybe, even. The Patriots are going to win the AFC East. All of this is true. HOWEVER, he is completely unproven. More so than the rest of a Patriots roster that we already know a decent amount about.
The Patriots are entering Year One without Brady facing questions at numerous spots, none bigger than quarterback. That said, the offensive skill positions — especially at tight end and wide receiver — will also need to step up in order to provide Stidham (if he wins the job, as is expected) with a more consistent supporting cast than the one Brady had to work with last year. The quarterback position is the biggest unknown at this point in time, and can thus be named a weakness, but it is far from the only one on New England’s roster.