It made (and continues to make) sense. Newton is probably the starter for 2021. First-round pick Mac Jones will be spending most of his time learning the playbook (we can assume).
Hoyer is the experienced veteran who has years under his belt with the Pats to help provide guidance and tutelage in addition to Newton.
Jones being sandwiched in between two guys like that is certainly essential to his development. There’s no need for a second-year quarterback who has yet to impress the team during his limited snap count during game action to still roam the roster and force the Patriots to carry four signal callers.
Unless … Stidham forces his way onto the 53-man with an impressive showing at OTAs, training camp, and during the preseason?
His journey to do so began on Friday.
Cam Newton’s injury at Patriots OTAs gave way to Jarrett Stidham.
Newton suffered an injury to his right hand after reportedly hitting it on a helmet when following through with a throw, and that opened the door for Stidham and Jones to grab significant reps.
Stidham was nearly perfect on the day, too, with his only blemish being a drop. That being said, he wasn’t exactly shredding apart the Patriots defense because he was unable to get the ball down field, which isn’t surprising because this is one of the best secondaries in the league.
Still, fairly impressive! And a lot more than what fans were likely expecting in the event he had to jump in with the first-team offense and lead the way. Of course, we don’t know the inner thinking of the coaching staff, so we’re not sure if this moved the needle for Stidham at all, but it certainly didn’t hurt him.
Here’s more from NESN’s Doug Kyed:
“Jones was 3-of-5 in 11-on-11s and 5-of-6 in 7-on-7s but most of his completions were checkdowns to running backs.
“Stidham showed the best command and the best ability to throw downfield to receivers. He went 9-of-10 in 11-one-11s (his one incompletion was a drop) and 4-of-4 in 7-on-7s. Hoyer was 4-of-9 in 11s and 3-of-4 in 7s.”
As for Jones, he was apparently dealing with a calf issue, which may have contributed to Stidham’s ability to “shine.” Hoyer, as expected, wasn’t particularly impressive, but like we said, his potential presence on the roster is for his knowledge and experience, not physical capabilities.
Also, this is Stidham’s third year with the Patriots’ personnel and playbook. This is Jones’ first month. We can expect there to be a gap in performance, especially early on.
Nonetheless, we can expect the battle to come down to Stidham and Hoyer. If Stidham can impress with his arm and display astute knowledge of the offensive system, there will be no need for Hoyer.
Newton and Jones are there to stay, and it all depends on what Belichick and McDaniels prefer to have in the third quarterback on the roster. If it can be knowledge and above average play, great. If not, expect Hoyer to get the nod.
It’s still an uphill battle for Stidham here, but he’s at least off to a much-needed positive start.