Jarrett Stidham appears to be the quarterback waiting to take the reins should Brady either retire from the Patriots or decide to play for another team in 2020.
Stidham has not been in the NFL for long and therefore the average fan may not know who he is.
Here are some things to know about the 23-year-old quarterback before the 2020 season begins.
1. STIDHAM HAD TWO SOLID SEASONS AT AUBURN
Jarrett Stidham played the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Auburn Tigers after transferring from Baylor. Stidham led the Tigers to the Peach Bowl in 2017 and Music City Bowl in 2018. He helped get the Tigers to the SEC title game in 2017 only to lose to Georgia.
Stidham finished his career at Auburn with 5,952 passing yards and 36 touchdown passes. He declared for the NFL Draft after Auburn won the Music City Bowl over Purdue, 63-14.
2. THE PATRIOTS DRAFTED STIDHAM
The Patriots selected Stidham in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. He was the 133rd overall selection and fell behind quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Will Grier and Ryan Finley. He was selected before Easton Stick, Clayton Thorson, Gardner Minshew and Trace McSorley.
Stidham talked about the role of backup quarterback in September in an interview with the team’s website:
“As the backup you have to know what you’re doing on our offense,” he said. “As the scout team you have to be able to know what to do to give the defense a good look. I think you have to take it as it comes. You have to study as much as you can on both things and make sure you’re doing both really well. That’s the thing about being the backup, you have to take a lot of mental reps. Whenever Tom is in there, I have to stand back and act like I’m up there actually doing it. If it’s the read, or whatever it may be, I’m just trying to get as many mental reps as possible so that when I do get a chance to go out there it’s not all foreign to me.”
3. STIDHAM MADE A LESS THAN STELLAR DEBUT
Stidham made his NFL debut in Week 3 against the New York Jets. He was 2-for-3 with 14 passing yards. However, he threw an interception which was returned for a touchdown and he was sacked once.
He would appear in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5 and threw one pass: an incompletion. He played his second game against the Jets in Week 7 and took five snaps. He had two rushing yards.
Stidham didn’t play again for the rest of the season.
4. PRESSURE IS ON
Stidham was the 11th quarterback to be drafted by Bill Belichick since he took over as coach. However, not many of the quarterbacks have had a chance to succeed behind Tom Brady. Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Mallett and Matt Cassel have had some success away from the Patriots, but Danny Etling, Zac Robinson, Kevin O’Connell, Kliff Kingsbury and Rohan Davey didn't have any NFL success.
Cassel, Brissett and Garappolo have had chances to start for the Patriots while Brady was either hurt or suspended but all have gone elsewhere. There would be immense pressure on Stidham to have immediate success and continue the Patriots dynasty.
5. WHAT HIS TEAMMATES & COACHES HAVE SAID
While not much is known about Stidham or the Patriots plans for him for the future, he’s already received praise from teammates.
Duron Harmon told The Providence Journal: "You see throws out there that he makes where you’re just like, ‘Wow.’ You can tell he has the intangibles to be a good pro quarterback.”
Terrence Brooks told The Providence Journal: “He’s made some great throws in practice where everybody takes notice. Like, ‘Hey man, this dude is getting really good.’”
Josh McDaniels told ESPN: “He makes mistakes every day, like they all do as rookies, and he gets better. ... He has a great attitude. A great mindset.”
Scout Jim Nagy told NBC Sports Boston: “No question … Jarrett's got starter ability. No doubt in my mind. If they develop him right. Again, quarterback play is all about opportunity and situation. I think he's in a good spot to really maximize that. I think Jarrett could definitely be a starter in the NFL.”
Jakobi Meyers told NBC Sports Boston: “I know if we’re doing scout team or something, he makes some throws where it’s not really our offense and he’s just showing his arm off, he’s made some pretty crazy throws. Even when he’s in our offense. When we’re actually in practice and Tom’s not going, he makes some pretty good throws then. I mean, he definitely has a lot of arm talent, and he shows it here and there.