Well it seems pretty official now. Jarrett Stidham will be the heir to Tom Brady as the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots.
And I get it. For many of us, we don’t know anything about this guy except he was a fourth-round pick last year and threw 4 passes in the regular season (with one being a pick-six!).
Still, the conversations are only going to intensify until Week 1. Patriots haters and fans will ask with a different tone, but the question is the same:
“Is this really the guy?”
And as a shameless homer and big “In Bill We Trust” guy, I am here to emphatically tell you, “Yes!”
Do I know it for a fact? No!
Am I all in because I don’t really have another choice? You bet!
But there are some intriguing signs. What I have here for anyone else who is joining me on Team JS4 are talking points so when you’re asked to defend Stidham as our next guy, you’re ready to go!
High School Pedigree
Stidham played high school football in Texas, and if you’re a “Friday Night Lights” fan this is great news right off the bat.
In his senior year, he threw for almost 3,000 yards, ran for almost 1,000 yards and passed/ran for 50 TDs.
I realize most athletes that reach the NFL were superstars in high school, so this doesn’t mean any type of guaranteed NFL success. But it’s still good to see he achieved all this and did it in the crazy pressure atmosphere of Texas high school football.
As a true Freshman at Baylor, Stidham replaced injured starter Seth Russell and went 2-1. Both his wins were on the road, while the loss came to a Baker Mayfield-led Oklahoma team.
Over all his action that season, Stidham had a 69% completion rate and threw 12 TD / 2 INT.
Stidham transferred to Auburn and had a very successful Sophomore season where the team went 10-2 during the regular season with wins against Georgia and Alabama.
During that year, he had a 67% completion rate and threw 18 TD / 6 INT.
Before Stidham’s Junior year, the team’s two top WR both tore their ACL’s in the spring, something Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said had an effect on Stidham seemingly taking a step back that season.
They also lost four starting offensive linemen from 2017 and had struggles with the running game.
Auburn went 7-5 during the season, but three of losses were vs. LSU and at Georgia/Alabama.
Stidham still had a 61% completion rate and threw 18 TD / 5 INT.
Obviously, it’s been pointed out several times that Auburn’s poor 2018 season and Stidham’s lack of progress from the year before led to him being a fourth-round pick. But I keep coming back to those stats and I’d suggest you do the same when someone says Stidham can’t be the Pats’ solution at QB.
He’s accurate and he doesn’t throw many interceptions (48:13 TD:INT ratio over his college career). That’s been a pretty important piece of the New England Patriots offense the last 20 years.
I know. Preseason stats are difficult to use for expected real game success.
But again, Stidham’s performance being so solid is better than the alternative.
Over those four games, Stidham had a 68% completion rate and threw 4 TD / 1 INT.
Another factor is Stidham’s link with undrafted free agent Jakobi Meyers. Stidham and Meyers connected on 15 receptions for 196 yards and a touchdown over the four games.
Young receivers have had difficulty developing over the last 10-15 years in New England. And while none have lit the world on fire since they left, partnering Meyers (and 2019 first rounder N’Keal Harry) with a young QB might have the same effect as early 2000’s Brady with Deion Branch and David Givens.
Harry and Meyers are currently the 3rd/4th WR on the depth chart, and the #2 guy makes $6 million for a team that is in desperate need of cap space. (eye emoji)
The 2020 Offseason
Let’s review the Patriots moves, or lack thereof.
They decided not to extend themselves in terms of a financial or contract length commitment to retain Tom Brady.
They signed Brian Hoyer, a player best suited for a backup role. And one with intimate knowledge of the system, which would be immensely valuable for a young QB.
The draft came and went without a quarterback being selected.
They did not sign Andy Dalton, and could have easily beaten the Cowboys offer if a starting spot was offered.
They have not signed Cam Newton and according to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, they do not have interest in doing so.
You don’t need to have Charlie Kelly’s set up in the mail room to connect these dots.
The New England Patriots, and more specifically, Bill Belichick think Jarrett Stidham can be their starter in 2020.
This is your trump card for any Stidham argument. The best coach of all-time believes in this guy.
There’s no way BB is going into this season under the post-Brady microscope with someone who is not going to at least keep them competitive. And this is where the accuracy and limited interceptions come back in.
Stidham might not “win” many games for the Patriots this season, but BB clearly feels he’s not going to “lose” many either.
The Brady equation
Now you might have shared all of this and still received the dreaded, “Fine. But he’s not going to be Brady!”
Thinking Stidham is going to perform anything close to the best quarterback of all-time in what will essentially be his rookie season is laughable.
However, if you look at Brady’s stats last year, it’s looks close to what I would say is Stidham’s most realistic ceiling for 2020.
61% completion rate and 24 TD / 8 INT.
Add in a Wild Card playoff spot, and suddenly 2020 Jarrett Stidham could very well resemble 2019 Brady.
But let’s just leave the comparisons there.
There’s no telling what Jarrett Stidham the NFL starting quarterback will look like. And there are some concerns with how the current world situation will affect a very important training camp for his development.
I do think moving forward with Stidham as the next QB is the right move though, and I am kind of excited about. Let everyone else keep shoveling the dirt on the Pats Dynasty and laughing at the idea of starting a fourth-round pick in Year 2. It’s just going to make this season all the sweeter.
And hopefully this will help you get a few members to join the JS4 fan club before Week 1.
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