With each passing day, we're getting a step closer to actually seeing what the New England Patriots will look like without Tom Brady as their quarterback. Right now, it appears to be a competition between veteran Brian Hoyer, who is on his third stint with the team, and second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who was selected in the fourth round in 2019 out of Auburn.
Conventional wisdom would point to New England wanting Stidham to win the job, given his youth, but the young quarterback will have to do just that - win the job. Bill Belichick has admitted this offseason that Stidham enjoyed a "good year" in 2019 and "improved a lot," but he'll have to carry that momentum all the way through the summer to really solidify himself as QB1 in Foxborough. That challenge appears to be something that Stidham is eager to embrace.
"I know he's extremely excited about this opportunity," Chip Lindsey, the current head coach at Troy and Stidham's former offensive coordinator at Auburn, told Doug Kyed of NESN. "I think he's a guy that's kind of — when you come play at Auburn in the SEC. I don't know how much you're familiar with this league or not, but you're under the microscope every week. You're playing the biggest game of the week every week it seems like. He's had his fair share of being in the limelight, good and bad, and I think he understands very well that, as a quarterback, by nature of the position, you get more credit than you deserve and more blame than you deserve. I think he's totally comfortable with that and very comfortable with himself, which I think will serve him well."
Stidham spent his entire rookie season behind Brady and playing for Bill Belichick, which is a prime situation for any young quarterback to be in, learning from arguably the two best figures at their respective positions.
"I think what Jarrett does really well is he watches and pays attention," Lindsey said. "That year he spent last year doing that, I think it's going to be extremely beneficial to him."
Stidham had a bit of a topsy-turvy collegiate career, going from a Texas Tech commit to Baylor to community college to Auburn, but he does have plenty of skills that make him an attractive prospect and possible starter heading into 2020 (you can check out a more comprehensive breakdown of Stidham's game here). With a year of experience in New England's system, he should be as prepared as anyone to grab ahold of the reigns and help usher in the post-Brady era.
Now it's time to put that preparation to good use on the field.