There was a time when some wondered if Jarrett Stidham would beat out three-time Pro Bowler Cam Newton for the New England Patriots' starting quarterback job.
Now, it appears Stidham will take a backseat to a 34-year-old journeyman who has lost his last 16 starts.
The Patriots reportedly are expected to start Brian Hoyer over Stidham against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night after placing Newton on the COVID-19/reserve list Saturday.
That's a notable decision given the preseason hype around Stidham. But Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran isn't particularly surprised New England is rolling with Hoyer over Stidham this week.
"It's OK for me to understand without question why on Monday night he'll be their quarterback: Because he spent the whole week as the backup," Curran told co-host Phil Perry on a new Patriots Talk Podcast.
Where things could get interesting, however, is if Newton misses Week 5 against the Denver Broncos as well.
"Are the Patriots just going to proceed with, 'Cam's down, Brian's our starter, Jarrett's our backup now,' or do those guys start from a flat-footed race position going forward into Denver?" Curran wondered. "Or do they just say, 'No, things are too kooky right now, Jarrett. We're just going to leave Brian as the starter. We love you though."
While Hoyer's pedigree isn't pretty -- he completed just 53.8 percent of his passes for the Indianapolis Colts last season with four touchdowns and four interceptions in four games -- he's more familiar with the Patriots' offense and perhaps less prone to mistakes than the 24-year-old Stidham.
Perry admitted the Patriots may need Stidham's higher upside to knock off the Chiefs but still sees a path to a New England upset with Hoyer.
"If you're the Patriots, you hope he can kill clock as much as humanly possible and do what they did last year, which was, they're down 10 points and Tom Brady is snapping the football at zero on the play clock," Perry said.
"They are really trying to slow the game down -- even when they're behind -- and not give it away, not turn it over. With Jarrett Stidham, you don't know if you can have those things. But you're also limiting your explosive potential offensively by having Hoyer out there."
It's possible the Patriots could start Hoyer in Kansas City and bring in Stidham if they fall behind early. If Stidham doesn't enter the game and remains Hoyer's backup next week vs. Denver, though...
"If he doesn't get any reps at all and the Patriots get their asses jacked in these two games, that's not a good sign," Curran said. "That's a very bad sign."
Curran and Perry also discussed whether the NFL is being irresponsible by scheduling Patriots-Chiefs for Monday night, Dr. Myron Rolle's comments on the incubation period for Newton and more.