The New England Patriots will soon embark on a new era without Tom Brady as their starting quarterback, and another one of the team's leaders has faith in the players most likely to follow in the six-time Super Bowl champion's footsteps.
The Patriots currently have two quarterbacks on their roster -- Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer -- following Thursday's release of veteran Cody Kessler.
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Patriots running back James White, who's won three Super Bowl titles in his six seasons in New England, spoke to reporters Thursday in a Zoom video conference. He was asked about the team's quarterback situation post-Brady, and the veteran running back has no qualms about who might start at the position.
“It'll be a little different," White said. "I played with (Brady) my whole career, so I learned a lot from that guy. We appreciated him as a teammate, we all learned a lot from him. Guys come and go each and every year, so you have to be able to compete with new people. We’re confident in Stidham, confident in Hoyer, whoever it happens to be.”
Stidham is the favorite to win the starting job. He didn't get many regular season reps as Brady's backup in 2019, but the rookie QB did impress during the first-team reps he received in training camp and the preseason. The 2019 fourth-round pick completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 731 yards with four touchdowns and one interception over four preseason appearances.
“He came in and competed right away,” White said of Stidham. “Our offense can be pretty complex, and he was willing to learn, willing to take the coaching. He keeps fighting no matter what the situation is. The second year, he’ll come in ready to learn. We’re all competing trying to make each other better football players, be on the same page on offense so we can all help each other out.”
Patriots leaders have been full of praise for Stidham over the last two weeks. Team captains such as Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater have praised the young quarterback's poise, maturity and work ethic, among other attributes.