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5 things Patriots fans should know about quarterback Jarrett Stidham

Patriots Wire logo Patriots Wire 3/19/2020 Mike Masala
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Tom Brady is gone, and although there are still bodies present, the Patriots quarterback room looks emptier than it has in 20 years. However, the future starts today, and that’s something to be excited about. The Patriots could have their next starting quarterback already in the building in Jarrett Stidham.

The Patriots drafted Stidham in the fourth round of last year’s NFL draft. In his rookie year, he played only 15 snaps due to Brady’s presence. If Stidham is the next starting quarterback of the New England Patriots, it’s only right that everyone should be familiar with who he is and what he’s done.

Here are five things you should know about Stidham.

1. He had a successful college career, with the exception of his final year at Auburn.

Stidham’s college journey was a little atypical. He was brought into Baylor in 2015 as a true freshman and saw some playing time as a backup. However, the quarterback transferred to a community college after the firing of their head coach. Stidham returned back to Division I football with the Auburn Tigers after just a semester at community college. He would go on to start 27 games over two years at Auburn, throwing for 5,952 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.

Stidham’s final year of college saw him take a step back from the player he was the year prior in 2017. Auburn had very little to work with, and scouts saw Stidham veer away from his mechanics. A fundamentally sound and smart quarterback was in there, he just needed the right coach to pull it out of him.

2. Stidham lit up the preseason last year.

The future looked bright in August last year. Stidham and undrafted rookie wide receiver Jakobi Myers were tearing up the NFL in preseason competition. The quarterback finished with the second-most yards in preseason (731) just behind Tampa Bay’s veteran backup Ryan Griffin (744).

Those performances weren’t against the best talent, but Stidham didn’t have top-notch weapons to work with either. In the preseason, a player can’t make their career, but they can certainly break it. Thankfully, Stidham showed up.

3. Stidham and fellow 2019 draft pick Damien Harris have been friends forever.

In his first experiences with tackle football, Stidham bonded with Harris. The two played together on the same team in youth football. That friendship never faltered even in their college years when they’d both suit up for rival Division I programs. They met in two Iron Bowls. Stidham shocking the world in 2017, beating top-ranked Alabama. Then, Harris’ Crimson Tide defeated Stidham’s Tigers the following year.

Their friendship may be useful if they both get more opportunities in 2020. Any extra familiarity will be beneficial for the team.

4. He received a lot of praise from his team last year.

Near the end of last season, the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels talked to different people around the organization about Stidham’s year. Someone he spoke with was Josh McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, who will spend a lot of time with Stidham if his number is called. McDaniels said, “I really think (Stidham)’s got a great attitude. He’s improved during the course of the year and he’s ready to go each week.”

That may be coachspeak, but if McDaniels really is satisfied with what Stidham has done the transition may not be as difficult as once perceived.

What is good to hear is what the aforementioned Myers said about the quarterback. He was quoted saying, “It’s easy to follow him on the field. It’s easy to listen to him. He’ll tell you what he wants and how he wants it and you just do it. … It’s a standard here. Next man up, regardless. Tom Brady, Jarrett Stidham — he comes in and does his job.”

That is some high praise. The fact that he commands the drills and offense should be something that excites fans.

5. His throwing coach believes he could be a “franchise quarterback.”

Stidham has been working with throwing coach and former quarterback Jordan Palmer since he was 16. While Palmer’s career wasn’t anything to write home about, his list of clients is impressive. Joe Burrow, Jordan Love, Sam Darnold, and Josh Allen all work with him on a full-time basis. He’s also helped other quarterbacks in smaller roles including Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

The Athletic’s Jeff Howe caught up with Palmer and the throwing coach shared his feelings about Stidham. Palmer said, “To be clear, I think he is a star, and he is going to be a big-time franchise quarterback. I have felt that way for a couple years now. I’m totally fine saying that. I don’t care that he went fourth round (of the 2019 draft). I think he is legitimate. He is going to be the leader of New England for a long time, whenever that starts. Go ahead and jump on that bandwagon.”

Again, this is high praise for a second-year quarterback. If Stidham performs as well as his teammates and throwing coach think he will the Patriots are in good hands.

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