Dante Scarnecchia knows Bill Belichick perhaps better than anyone else after coaching with him for so long over the years.
The long-time offensive line coach weighed in on the Patriots competition between Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham over the weekend when he appeared on Sirius XM Mad Dog Sports Radio.
As expected, Scarnecchia is giving the edge to Newton.
“I think he has a huge edge, because of what he’s done in the league," he said, via ESPN's Mike Reiss. "The guy was an MVP [in 2015]. We played against him a number of times, have a huge respect for him as a player and leader, and the things he’s done. This guy, from a skill set, a lot different from guys we’ve had in there at quarterback over the years. [Jarrett] Stidham has great feet and ability to move and avoid the rush, and create and do a lot of similar things.
"I don’t think he’s to Cam’s skill set, but this guy is a pretty good player. He also has a tremendous work ethic and he’s a smart guy. I know this, you have to be a smart guy to play quarterback in that system. Having said all that, the cupboard is not half empty by any means. I think there is a lot of enthusiasm. The situation looks a lot different than it did two months ago.”
Scarnecchia also gave his thoughts on the number of players who have opted out, but said he would not be surprised if the Patriots still have a very good season.
“I took everything that happened with these guys at face value. All these guys are really good guys, intelligent guys, hard-working people. Four of those guys really helped us win a lot of games, had a lot of success,” he said, when talking about Dont'a Hightower, Patrick Chung, Marcus Cannon and Brandon Bolden. “I think everything they’ve done relative to opting out has been with a lot of soul-searching, talking with their families, and coming up with the best decision for them. Even though it is a big hit -- there’s no doubt about it, you’d be crazy to say it was any different – this is a different time we’re in. Yeah, it’s going to hit hard. But knowing Bill [Belichick] and that staff, they’re going to work like crazy to put out the best football team they can. I wouldn’t be really shocked if it [was] a really good football team.”
The NFL reportedly is trying to move the opt out date to the middle of this week.