Tom Brady was 24 years old in 2001 when Mo Lewis' devastating hit on Drew Bledsoe altered the course of Patriots franchise history, thrusting Brady into a starting role.
When the 2020 season (hopefully) starts later this year, Jarrett Stidham will also be 24 years old. And Brady's departure has opened the door for Stidham to take over as New England's starting QB.
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So what does Stidham need to do to seize the reins and become a leader? A man who had a front row seat for Brady's emergence from a sixth-round pick to the GOAT has some ideas.
"I witnessed it happen with Tommy in a very difficult time. It's not as if he had the snaps in practice leading up to that Week 3 where he was going to take over the reins from a very veteran quarterback in Drew Bledsoe," three-time Super Bowl champion Matt Light said on "Good Morning Football" on Friday. "Stidham is going to prove it right now. Unfortunately right now means they're not able to get together, but when they finally do get together, it's going to happen in practice first.
It's not going to happen in that first game — although you're going to find out what he's made of in that first game when the bullets are flying for real and the guys are amped up and it's all on the line. But he needs to prove it in how he conducts the practices and how he gets guys on the same page in the meeting room and in the film room, the classroom.
As Light alluded to, the fact that Stidham hasn't been able to practice with teammates at OTAs and minicamps thus far this offseason will be a big challenge for the second-year pro, who only threw four regular-season passes during his rookie campaign.
"It's going to be really hard for a guy like him and any young guy coming into the National Football League right now that they're not able to be around their teammates and they're not able to be around in the minicamps, the passing camps and do all those things that pay huge dividends down the road."
After only adding Brian Hoyer this offseason, it's clear the Patriots have confidence in Stidham. Now it's up to him to deliver on that promise.