Bill Belichick is holding firm. His team is completely out of contention, and yet the Patriots head coach still refuses to tip his hand on which quarterback will be playing Monday night against the Bills, be it Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham.
Asked if he’d be sticking with Newton at quarterback, given the Patriots would be conducting their first practice of the week Wednesday, Belichick got a little testy.
“Mike, we’re not answering that question every day,” Belichick said, answering ESPN’s Mike Reiss on a video conference call. “We’ve been through this for a month.”
That’s been Belichick’s tack of late — being put off by the questions, and essentially not answering because the question keeps getting asked.
“How about if I let you know if we’re going to make a change,” Belichick said.
With the season essentially over, and Newton continuing to struggle, throwing just five touchdown passes, with 10 interceptions, and the NFL’s 29th-worst quarterback rating (44.7), it would seem to make sense to give Stidham a shot in a starting role.
The 2019 fourth-round pick has only appeared in relief the past two seasons. The Patriots do need to find out about where Stidham fits in their future.
Asked if not wanting to disclose his starter was partly due to competitive reasons, and not wanting to give the Bills a leg up, Belichick scoffed: “Any questions on Buffalo, Mike?”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott didn’t seem too bothered by not knowing the starter. He pumped up both quarterbacks, and will be ready no matter who is under center for the Patriots.
“We do our due diligence,” McDermott said on a Zoom conference call. “Whoever they play, they’re both good quarterbacks. Both play at a high level, so we have to prepare to play our best football, that’s how we look at it.”
From the little he’s seen, McDermott appears to like Stidham, the Patriots second-year quarterback.
“He looks like a good young player. I know he’s only had certain snaps during the regular season, but he looks a good young player and certainly has the athleticism to go with the position,” said McDermott. “We’ve got nothing but a high amount of respect for Jarrett, Cam, and their entire program.”
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