Despite putting up another unimpressive performance for the third straight week, Bill Belichick is sticking with Cam Newton to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback moving forward over Jarrett Stidham.
Belichick’s refusal to swap Newton out for Stidham may lead you to think that the Patriots don’t like where Stidham is as a player. Belichick, for his part, complimented the second-year quarterback after he came in to replace Newton in Thursday night’s 24-3 loss to the Rams.
“Jarrett has worked hard,” Belichick told reporters Thursday night. “He’s tried to take advantage of his opportunities. But that’s not really the point.”
In his press conference on Friday, Belichick was asked what he meant by saying “that’s not really the point.”
“Sometimes there’s situations in a game where you can put somebody in, but we’re trying to win the game,” he said. “So, that’s what we’re here for is to win the game. It was the opposite situation last week against the Chargers, but the point’s to try to win. That’s what’s important to us.”
Thursday marked the third time this season Stidham entered a game to replace the starter with the Patriots trailing. While Stidham, who was once believed to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback for this season prior to Newton’s signing, hasn’t started a game yet, Belichick does believe that he’s an ascending player.
“All of the things we’ve talked about. It’s true of most every second-year player,” Belichick said when asked why he believes Stidham will get better. “The knowledge of our system, the knowledge of the league, building good habits, building good fundamentals, gaining experience. Those things are true for all players at that stage in their development.”
Stidham has thrown for 212 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions in four games this season. While his stats aren’t great, Belichick seemed happy with where Stidham’s at.
“Jarrett’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, and he’s done everything he can do,” he said. “I don’t think you can ask any more than that.”
As for the Patriots’ starting quarterback, Belichick doubled down on sticking with Newton, saying he’s “answered that question for the last time.” He also came to Newton’s defense on the pick-six he threw in the second quarter of Thursday’s loss.
“It was a tough play,” Belichick said.”(Aaron) Donald made a good play to knock Damien (Harris) off. He could’ve thrown it into the ground, but I don’t know why he would’ve thrown it into the ground. It really wasn’t that kind of play. Like I said, Donald made a good play and knocked the timing off a little bit. Tough situation.
“If we’d known that would’ve happened, we could’ve called a different play. That’s one of those plays — and we had a few of them last night — that just didn’t work out for us, didn’t execute well, or had a bad call at the bad time or whatever it was. The results were what they were.”
The Patriots don’t play again until Sunday, Dec. 20, against the Dolphins in Miami.
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