Benjamin Watson

Ex-Patriots tight end explains why fans should be confident in Jarrett Stidham

Ex-Patriots tight end explains why fans should be confident in Jarrett Stidham

In the infamous words of former Boston Celtics head coach Rick Pitino, Tom Brady is not walking through that door.

Brady took his talents to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFL free agency last month, leaving 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer at quarterback on the Patriots roster.

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Oddsmakers aren't particularly high on the Patriots' chances of competing with Stidham, who's the likely Week 1 starter. Caesars Sportsbook in Las Vegas released their 2020 season win total props Thursday and the Patriots are at 8.5, which is their lowest over/under win total number since 2003. These oddsmakers also have the Buffalo Bills as the favorites to win the AFC East next season. The Pats have won the division 11 consecutive years.

One person who does have confidence in Stidham's abilities is former Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson, who was teammates with the former Auburn quarterback in New England last year. Watson went on FOX Sports 1 morning show "First Things First" on Tuesday and gave Patriots fans plenty of reasons to be confident in Stidham.

“I've seen a lot of guys who come in with a lot of hype who didn't pan out. I've seen guys who came in under the radar and turned into superstars," Watson said. "Stidham has all that there needs to be for somebody who’s going to be successful. He’s a student of the game. You hear that a lot, but what that really means is that when we’re in the meeting rooms, he’s paying attention.

"When they’re in the quarterback room, he’s paying attention. When he’s on the field, he’s taking instruction from the coaches. He’s able to disseminate information to the guys in the huddle. He’s able to encourage them and kind of go through the minor details about route running, about reading coverages, all those things. He’s eager to learn, and he has a certain humility about him, with confidence. He had a chance to learn under arguably the greatest quarterback to play the game. He soaked that in for a year. Patriots fans should be confident that he wouldn’t be in that room if coach (Bill) Belichick didn’t think he could help the team.”

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Watson makes a great point about Stidham learning from the greatest quarterback in NFL history. He's also learning from the best coach in pro football history, which is really valuable for a young player. So many talented quarterbacks are drafted to teams who don't have the coaching excellence and professional environment that is found in New England. Watson's descripton of Stidham's leadership and how he acts in the huddle is no doubt encouraging for fans, too.

There are reasons to believe Stidham will succeed as a starting quarterback, and Watson laid out several of them. Now it's just time for Stidham to go out and prove it.

Patriots, Benjamin Watson share touching exchange following TE's retirement

Patriots, Benjamin Watson share touching exchange following TE's retirement

On Monday afternoon, Benjamin Watson made the decision to retire. This wasn't a surprise. The tight end had retired the previous offseason but the New England Patriots managed to convince him to return for one more run at a Super Bowl.

Things didn't end up panning out for the 39-year-old. But he certainly appreciated the opportunity to play in New England.

The Patriots Twitter account took some time to respond to Watson's long retirement announcement, thanking Watson for what he did for the franchise. Watson responded and communicated that he was grateful for the Patriots "welcoming him" throughout his career.

That's certainly a touching moment, and it's praise that the team-oriented Watson deserves as he rides off into the sunset.

Watson wasn't particularly impactful for the Patriots on the field last year, catching only 17 passes for 172 yards in 10 games. But finishing his 16-year career in New England, where he started as a first-round pick by the Patriots in 2004, was a fitting way for Watson to go out.

Benjamin Watson replies to Tom Brady's latest Instagram with heartfelt message

Benjamin Watson replies to Tom Brady's latest Instagram with heartfelt message

One of the reasons why Benjamin Watson returned to the New England Patriots in 2019 was to play alongside quarterback Tom Brady.

Even though the season ended in disappointment for the Patriots, Watson was very thankful for another opportunity to pursue a championship in New England.

Brady posted to Instagram on Wednesday morning with a long message that pretty much confirmed he will not retire in 2020. Many of his Patriots teammates replied to the post with some sort of motivational or other positive message.

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The most heartfelt response came from Watson. Here's what the 38-year-old tight end wrote to Brady:

"No bro. We all need to be thanking you! Your leadership is an inspiration, your example exemplary, and your fire is contagious. Generations of players have been blessed to take the field and share the locker room with you. You made everyone better and made us appreciate this game all the more. You taught us the importance of TEAM and that winning is not by chance. It’s by choice, in every drill when the lights and cameras are no where to be seen. And even though your stardom is unmatched you still take time hug our kids, wives and parents, sign all the stuff people send you and have normal conversations lol. Kindness lasts forever. Play as long as you desire to. This decade needs some TB records as well. Fan for life #LFG"

In case you didn't see it, Brady left a similarly emotional message on one of Watson's recent Instagram posts.

Watson has not announced his retirement, but he admitted it's an option after Saturday's playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans.

There's no doubt Watson cherished every chance he had to take the field with Brady, and the two players certainly have a strong bond that should stand the test of time.

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