Patriots center David Andrews and quarterback Jarrett Stidham have something in common: They each spent nearly all of 2019 not playing.
Andrews had a health condition; Stidham was stuck behind Tom Brady. This year, Andrews is healthy and Brady is gone. So Stidham will likely be the guy sticking his hands into the undercarriage of Andrews on a regular basis.
“Jarrett is a great kid,” Andrews told reporters on Tuesday. “I was still able, especially during the season at times, we would hang out a lot and stuff. Whatever quarterback is in that room, I try to build a bond with them, whether it’s Jimmy [Garoppolo], Brian [Hoyer], Danny Etling. Whoever is in there, you try to build a bond, because it’s obviously one play away from anyone playing. That’s just the way it is. I look back on my rookie year and can remember the growth I saw from my rookie season to my second year and how the games start to click a little bit and make sense a little bit more. So, that for all those players is just a natural thing coming from that first to second year.
“Your first year is such a whirlwind. It’s such a long year from going from bowl games to training to Combine to Pro Day to OTAs, minicamps, all that, to training camp. For a year, it’s nonstop. The growth from your first to your second year is so huge. So we’ll bring in great players, Coach Belichick brings in great football players, and we have a lot of great guys in this locker room that are committed to winning. So that’s the tradition from guys and how they handle situations.”
And that’s why the Patriots haven’t made a move for a veteran free agent with name recognition. Belichick trusts his system, trusts his players, trusts his way. Belichick drafted Stidham because Belichick believed in Stidham. Belichick kept Stidham because Belichick’s belief in Stidham was bolstered by his performance.
Belichick has put Stidham atop the unofficial depth chart because Belichick believes Stidham can get it done as the starting quarterback. Belichick and the rest of us will find out whether his believe is accurate soon enough.