Stidham finished the 2020 season with 22 completions on 44 passing attempts for 256 yards with two TDs and three interceptions in five appearances. Stidham, who also logged seven carries for seven yards, spent the bulk of the campaign as Cam Newton's top backup and remains under contract with New England through the 2022 season. The future role of the 2019 fourth-rounder has yet to be determined, with the Patriots facing plenty of offseason personnel decisions, including whether or not to try to retain Newton, who's eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. The team could also look elsewhere in free agency and the draft, so it's way too early to get a handle on Stidham's 2021 fantasy prospects.
Stidham completed four of 11 passes for 44 yards in Monday night's 38-9 loss to the Bills, after entering the game on the Patriots' second drive of the third quarter in place of teammate Cam Newton. Stidham was called into the game after Newton struggled once again, completing five of 10 passes for just 34 yards. Although Newton did score another rushing touchdown, New England's inability to build drives, along with the state of Monday's blowout defeat, presented an opportunity to get Stidham some game reps. With little to play for in Week 17 versus the Jets, the Pats could well decide to evaluate Stidham in the starting role to close out the campaign.
Stidham could get playing time over the final two weeks of the regular season, Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com reports. Bill Belichick never wavered in his commitment to Cam Newton as the starting quarterback while the Patriots were competing for a playoff spot, but the coach sounded a bit more open to the idea of playing Stidham after Sunday's loss to Miami officially ended the team's long shot wild-card bid. In fact, Belichick said "we'll see" when reporters asked him if he'd take a look at Stidham over the final two weeks of the season. The coach has a bit of extra time to make his decision on Week 16's starters, as the Patriots will host the Bills on Monday Night Football.
Coach Bill Belichick confirmed Friday that the Patriots have no plans to install Stidham as their starting QB at this time, Zack Cox of NESN.com reports. Stidham replaced veteran signal-caller Cam Newton with 10:12 remaining in Thursday night's 24-3 loss to the Rams and proceeded to complete five of seven passes for 27 yards. Despite Newton's struggles Week 14, the Patriots have no plans to make a QB switch in advance of the team's Dec. 20 tilt against the Dolphins. At 6-7, New England's playoff hopes are slim, but it's clear that Belichick believes Newton gives the team a better chance to win at this stage of the season.
Stidham entered Thursday night's 24-3 loss to the Rams with 10:12 remaining and completed five of seven passes for 27 yards while adding one rush for three yards. The second-year signal-caller saw fourth-quarter action for the second time in four days, but the context was significantly different Thursday. In Sunday's 45-0 win over the Chargers, Stidham came in for mop-up duty for a resting Cam Newton, while Thursday, it could easily be inferred the substitution took place as a result of Newton's ineffectiveness as much as anything else. With Newton also dealing with what appears to be a nagging abdomen injury that may not necessarily completely heal despite the extended time between Thursday and a Week 15 matchup against the Dolphins on Dec. 20, Stidham could have a chance of taking the reins of the offense for that contest. However, given the Patriots' typically secretive nature about personnel, there may not be any insight until New England officially begins preparations for that contest sometime next week.
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