Patriots

Todd McShay insists Jarrett Stidham is 'not ready' to lead Patriots in 2020

Todd McShay insists Jarrett Stidham is 'not ready' to lead Patriots in 2020

Jarrett Stidham could develop into the New England Patriots' quarterback of the future.

But can he help them win games in the present?

ESPN draft expert Todd McShay has his doubts that the 23-year-old QB can succeed right away as the Patriots' starting QB following Tom Brady's free-agent departure.

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"From everyone I talked to in the organization, they're excited about his development," McShay said Monday on ESPN's "Get Up!" "He has so much potential. He is gifted. He's been through a lot in his life. He's got some character and grittiness and toughness to him.

"But he's not ready yet. That's the bottom line. He is not ready to lead the New England Patriots, in my opinion."

McShay cited New England's Week 3 game against the New York Jets last season in which Stidham entered the game in garbage time and threw an interception, prompting an angry Bill Belichick to sub Brady back in.

Our Tom E. Curran has reported the Patriots are content entering the season with Stidham and backup Brian Hoyer as their QB duo, but McShay suggested the team still may look elsewhere for a signal-caller via free agency or the 2020 NFL Draft.

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"They are going to have to make a decision on what to do," McShay said. "Is it bringing in a veteran like Andy Dalton to kind of stem the tide between now and when Stidham is ready, or is it drafting another quarterback that they think can bring competition and potentially outplay Stidham at that No. 1 position?"

The Patriots have options at QB in the NFL Draft, from high-profile names like Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jordan Love to second-tier arms like Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm.

Whether those options -- or an NFL arm like Dalton, Jameis Winston and Cam Newton -- are worth pursuing appears up for debate. But reporters at least can agree on this: Belichick won't jump the gun for a QB.

"The one thing I know from talking to people inside the organization: It's all about patience and waiting to see how the market plays out," McShay added.

Are Patriots' RBs the best position group in entire NFL? Ex-NFL GM thinks so

Are Patriots' RBs the best position group in entire NFL? Ex-NFL GM thinks so

Some would argue the New England Patriots lack elite offensive weapons.

Mike Tannenbaum would argue they actually have an embarrassment of riches -- at one position, anyway.

During an appearance Friday on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria," the former New York Jets and Miami Dolphins general manager argued the Patriots may have the best position group in the NFL.

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"I think you can make a case that the New England Patriots running back room arguably is the best position room of any position of any team in the league," Tannenbaum said, via WEEI.com.

Notice Tannenbaum didn't say the Patriots have the best running back group in the NFL. He believes New England's running backs are the strong position group, period, in the NFL.

That's a hot take, Mike. Care to explain?

"They go five and six deep," Tannenbaum said. "I had Brandon Bolden with the Dolphins. We rarely get to talk about (Damien) Harris, who is a really good player out of Alabama. Then you think about (Rex) Burkhead, James White and obviously Sony Michel. It is a great group."

The Patriots indeed have great versatility and depth at running back: Michel is the early-down workhorse and White is the passing game threat, while Burkhead and Bolden can give you a bit of both. Harris, the team's third-round draft pick in 2019, couldn't even crack this deep rotation as a rookie.

Pundits seemed to agree with Tannenbaum before the 2019 season, too: SB Nation and Bleacher Report pegged the Patriots' RBs as the best and second-best running back group in the NFL, respectively.

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But that was prior to a 2019 campaign in which New England rushed for 1,703 yards as a team (18th in the NFL) while averaging just 3.8 yards per attempt (25th). The Patriots' leading rusher, Michel, averaged just 3.7 yards per carry, good for 40th among 47 qualified rushers.

Of course, the Patriots' offensive line contributed to their lack of success in the running game. And the team's backs were effective in the passing game, as White finished fourth among all RBs with 72 receptions.

Still, it's difficult to imagine New England's running back room as a better position group than, say, the Kansas City Chiefs' explosive wide receivers or even the Patriots' shutdown cornerback group.

If you buy Tannenbaum's argument, though, quarterback Jarrett Stidham has reason for optimism in 2020.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Patriots Opposing Views - Perspectives from around the NFL

Patriots Talk Podcast: Patriots Opposing Views - Perspectives from around the NFL

Over the last few weeks, NBC Sports Boston's Patriots insiders Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry have chatted with NFL writers from around the country to get their perspective on the Pats as well as the teams they cover.

To catch up on the Patriots Opposing Views series, look no further than the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.

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1:15 – Mary Kay Cabot joins Tom to discuss the Cleveland Browns. Topics include: how close the team was to hiring Josh McDaniels and if the Odell Beckham Jr.-to-New England rumors are dead.

11:08 – Ed Bouchette joins Tom to discuss the Pittsburgh Steelers. Topics include: the excitement level in Pittsburgh now that Tom Brady has left New England and whether Ben Roethlisberger can return to an elite level.

22:46 – Joe Rexrode joins Phil to discuss the Tennessee Titans. Topics include: the reasons for Mike Vrabel’s coaching success and if the team was right to choose Ryan Tannehill over Tom Brady this offseason.

30:11 – John McClain joins Tom to discuss the Houston Texans. Topics include: what John thinks of Jarrett Stidham after watching him at Baylor and why Bill O’Brien traded DeAndre Hopkins.

39:32 – Justin Rogers joins Phil to discuss the Detroit Lions. Topics include: if Matt Patricia is on the ‘hot seat’ as head coach and the odds Matthew Stafford ends his career outside of Detroit.

You can check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or on YouTube.