FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady’s departure has created a void the New England Patriots might need two quarterbacks to fill. One of those quarterbacks appears to be dealing with a setback that could hinder his chances to win Brady’s old job.
Second-year pro Jarrett Stidham was limited at Friday’s practice for the first time since the Patriots began the padded portion of training camp. Stidham was in uniform for the non-padded practice, but watched from the sideline with his helmet in his hand while standing next to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for much of the team’s combined scrimmage.
The Patriots don’t appear too concerned about the 2019 fourth-round pick’s status.
“Coach (Bill Belichick) held him today, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be out there ready to roll the next time we practice,” McDaniels said afterward.
The 24-year-old Stidham is competing with veteran Brian Hoyer and recently signed 2015 MVP Cam Newton for the starting job. On Wednesday, Belichick said he would consider a two-quarterback system if that’s “what gives us the best chance to win.”
Stidham struggled early on in camp to gain a rhythm with his receivers, throwing multiple interceptions. Belichick downplayed the quarterback’s miscues as simply knocking off some offseason rust.
“I think in the early stages there’s definitely a timing, confidence, anticipation issues that are different from player to player,” Belichick said before practice. “The first day or two, three, whatever, is not as critical as going forward when you’ve been through things multiple times.”
Stidham was the last quarterback on the field Friday and started his day taking snaps from an unguarded center alongside Hoyer and Newton.
He progressed to throwing with Hoyer at roughly 15 yards apart and later threw short crossing routes as Newton and Hoyer worked with other receivers on downfield passes.
The only deep throws Stidham made Friday were to a coach on an adjacent practice field as the punt teams worked on the main field.
“You want to have the perfect day at practice, you want to have the perfect game, but I also believe it’s an imperfect game we’re playing,” Patriots quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch said about Stidham.
Fisch said he was unaware of any significant injuries in the quarterback room.
Newton and Hoyer split first-team reps during the team period of practice, with each orchestrating downfield drives.
“As we’re going through the evaluation of the quarterbacks, we’re just trying to make sure they’re all getting similar plays — not worry too much about rep counts, per se,” Fisch said.
McDaniels has been impressed with Newton’s ability to adapt to his new surroundings nearly two months after joining the team.
“We added him basically in July, and I think he’s really busted his butt to try to learn and grow each day he’s been with us,” McDaniels said.
McDaniels didn’t tip his hand as to which direction the Patriots are leaning at quarterback, but said he is itching for an answer.
“As soon as the decision is made, then obviously that’s an opportunity to start going in a specific direction,” he said.
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