Jarrett Stidham supposedly is the New England Patriots' quarterback of the future. So, why isn't he being treated like it?
The Patriots avoided taking a QB in the 2020 NFL Draft and have resisted signing proven veteran free agents like Andy Dalton and Cam Newton in free agency, a sign they're confident in Stidham and Brian Hoyer as their QB duo in 2020.
Aside from the occasional praise, however, New England has avoided pumping Stidham's tires. In fact, head coach Bill Belichick hasn't even named Stidham the starting QB and made a point after the draft that the Patriots have "a lot of confidence" in Hoyer, his supposed backup.
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Meanwhile, he's what Belichick had to say about Stidham:
"He improved a lot. We'll see where that takes him."
Why are the Patriots playing their Stidham cards close the vest? Are they still considering signing Newton or another free-agent arm? During an interview Thursday on The Pat McAfee Show, ex-Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light said the reason is simple.
"You're not hearing anything because there's nothing to be said "— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 21, 2020
Former #Patriots Tackle Matt Light on the talk of Jarrett Stidham as the teams starting QB #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/zVRrEXaVgL
"You’re not hearing anything because there’s nothing to be said," Light said. "And that is 11 years of being in the system, but in a lot of ways it is 100 percent factual, right?
"Bill wasn’t lying. He doesn’t know which one of his guys is going to be the guy yet. I think they have a lot of confidence in Jarrett Stidham, I think they have liked what they’ve seen.
" ... Can he deliver? I mean there’s a lot of things that need to come together before you can answer that question. Is he capable? Sure. Would Bill say that? Never. There’s just no upside to saying it, so he’s not going to do it."
Light's point is well-taken: The Patriots may believe Stidham can lead them in the post-Tom Brady era, but he's still a 23-year-old QB who has attempted four regular-season passes (one of which was intercepted).
So, there's no benefit to Belichick naming Stidham his starting quarterback in the spring only to watch the Auburn product struggle in the summer and fall and invite a QB controversy before the season even begins.
Just because New England isn't launching a Stidham 2020 hype tour doesn't mean Belichick is second-guessing himself, though.
"You’re just going to feel as if there is a lot of uncertainty where there probably is a lot more comfort than you’ll ever realize," Light said.
Translation: Expect the Patriots to keep Stidham relatively under wraps until he proves himself on the field.