A day after the Patriots were knocked out from playoff contention, head coach Bill Belichick is considering some personnel changes at multiple positions, including quarterback, for the final two games of the season.
Belichick told reporters in a conference call Monday that “we’ll see” if Jarrett Stidham takes the starting quarterback job from Cam Newton to close out the season.
“We can evaluate what the opportunities are,” Belichick said when asked if he’ll give some players more reps to prepare for next season. “We’re still going to prepare and try to play as well as we can Monday night. But we’ll see how that all shakes out. It could be a possibility in certain situations.”
Monday’s answer to the question on if there will be a change at quarterback struck a different tone than the many times Belichick answered that question this season. When given the chance, Belichick has stuck up for Newton, including twice after the Patriots’ Week 14 loss to the Rams.
“Great question. I’m glad you asked that. Cam’s our quarterback,” Belichick said when asked if he’d make a change at quarterback after the 24-3 loss to the Rams. When he was asked a similar question the day after that loss, he said he’s “answered that question for the last time.”
Newton has struggled throwing the ball over the Patriots’ last four games, completing 58.8 percent of his passes for a combined 481 yards (an average of roughly 120 yards per game). He’s also thrown just one touchdown and has thrown three interceptions in that stretch.
Newton did bounce back a bit Sunday, completing 17 of 27 passes for 209 yards while not committing a turnover. However, it marked the second straight week the Patriots failed to score a touchdown.
Belichick isn’t pinning the team’s recent struggles on one player, but all options are on the table for Monday’s game against the Bills.
“Really, we have a lot of team questions we need to answer, so I think that will be the overriding thing,” Belichick said. “We’ll talk about that today, tomorrow. We have an extra day this week and look at things starting from a bigger-picture standpoint. Obviously haven’t played the run well the last two weeks and haven’t been able to score a touchdown the last two weeks. I don’t think this is about any one individual.”
If Belichick indeed tabs Stidham to start in either of the final two games of the season, it’ll mark Stidham’s first start in his two-year NFL career. The Patriots’ 2019 fourth-round pick has thrown for 226 yards plus two touchdowns and four interceptions over seven games in his career.
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