Rob Ninkovich, who played for the Patriots from 2009 to 2016, believes that Bill Belichick will want 12-year veteran Brian Hoyer at the helm rather than Stidham, who’s heading into his second season and played very sparingly as a rookie.
“I think Brian Hoyer will be the starter Week 1 and I say that because the quarterback position is one of the most important for reps under center, seeing defensive looks, looking at coverage, understanding the offense,” Ninkovich said on ESPN, via WEEI. “There’s no minicamp, there’s no offseason, there’s no training camp. We don’t know when that’s going to happen. So if you have a veteran quarterback who has been in the system, understands what to expect what an NFL season is like, you’re gonna want to go with a guy who has the veteran leadership [and] also what it takes to be in that building. Look, when you’re a second-year player, you really don’t realize what a season’s like as a starter. You don’t understand what it’s going to take, and not having an offseason does not help. So, Brian Hoyer will be the starter Week 1.”
Of course, Brady was a second-year player when he took over for Drew Bledsoe, and that worked out pretty well for New England. So Belichick may not be quite as averse to putting a young quarterback under center as Ninkovich expects.