With Tom Brady taking his talents to Tampa Bay as a free agent, second-year Patriots backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham is going to be a major story in New England from now until the 2020 NFL season kicks off.
Patriots defensive captain Devin McCourty is aware that anything Stidham-related will create headlines. As such the veteran safety didn’t care to say too much about the young quarterback during a Wednesday afternoon conference call that obviously brought plenty of questions about the post-Brady Patriots.
“I don’t want to turn this call into when I deem Stidham the next greatest quarterback and put all that pressure on him,” McCourty said when asked what he learned about the fourth-round rookie on the practice field last fall. “He’s a hard worker – but I know if I say something it’s a headline tomorrow. Like I said, he’s a hard worker, he comes in, he works hard. He did a great job this year of coming in and trying to compete as well as Cody Kessler, who gave us some good looks on different things. Both of those guys, great attitudes. Look forward to those guys getting the opportunities.”
Though McCourty cautioned about putting too much pressure on Stidham and setting expectations too high as he competes to win the starting job for 2020, it’s quite clear that arriving from Auburn last spring the young quarterback impressed those veterans around him in his transition to the professional ranks.
“Like I said about him before, I love how he’s come in, he’s eager to learn, great personality, great attitude, like a lot of the guys in the locker room. He’s been one of the more mature guys that comes in and just does the work,” McCourty observed of Stidham, one of many young players who might be asked to step up this coming season. “I’m excited just going forward, I think our team as a whole – young guys who didn’t get a lot of opportunities last year, guys who got hurt, we have a couple guys like that, that will now be able to go out there for next year and have the opportunity to help the team in different ways. I think Stiddy [Stidham> falls in that category along with some other players on the offensive line, different guys I think will get an opportunity now that we didn’t get to see last year. It’s just that time of year. You start a new season, there’s changes, people are like, “This guy’s gone, that guy’s gone,” and then guys step up and do that. I’m excited for all those guys.”