The Patriots had Jarrett Stidham replace Tom Brady at quarterback during Thursday’s game against the Panthers and head coach Bill Belichick said after the game that they didn’t go with Brian Hoyer because they’ve already seen Hoyer play a lot of football over his career.
Stidham’s a rookie, so that’s obviously not the case for him and some might wonder if the extended playing time for Stidham was part of an effort to decide if the fourth-round pick can be Brady’s backup this season. Stidham was 15-of-19 for 134 yards while being sacked five times and losing a fumble.
On a Friday conference call, Belichick was asked about the rookie’s performance and offered a mixed review that took note of the big gap in experience with Hoyer.
“I think Jarrett’s pocket presence is good. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Belichick said. “Certainly, when you’re comparing him to the other two quarterbacks on our roster, guys who have played a lot of football in this league, it’s quite a gap in experience. I’m sure those are things that Jarrett will get better at. [It is] probably about what you would think it would be given the difference in experience that you’re comparing him to — to players in our offense running the same plays that he does. So, it’s hard to compare one quarterback in one system to a quarterback in a completely different system, but in our case we have three quarterbacks all in the same system. It’s an obvious comparison. He’s getting better. I think he does a good job, but there’s room for improvement, certainly.”
Stidham has played well enough through three preseason games that it would be easy to see another team grabbing him off the waiver wire. That makes him and Hoyer players to watch as the Patriots drop to 53 players by next Saturday’s deadline.