By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Jarrett Stidham may very well be the next starting quarterback of the New England Patriots. The prospects of Stidham’s career are, at best, uncertain. But if there’s a ray of hope, Tom Brady’s potential successor is drawing praise from his veteran teammates for things other than throwing a football.
And that’s the thing. Stidham can definitely throw. When you hear other reporters saying he was dropping some serious dimes in training camp, they’re not blowing smoke up your patoot. His success (franchise quarterback?) or failure (can he play at all?) at the NFL level hinges on the other things, the qualities that you won’t know much about until he actually plays in real games, the attributes that many aren’t comfortable talking about because they’re intangible.
Speaking of that word. Intangible. Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater made a point to praise that aspect of Stidham’s performance after spending a season with the former Auburn QB as Brady’s backup. He also gave Stidham maybe the best nickname yet. It seems the Patriots can’t agree on one. Stid? Stiddy? Let’s go with “Brother Stid.”
“Brother Stid is a great kid, and I think that’s the thing that is going to matter the most with any player – who is he as a man, who is he as a person, what’s he motivated by?” said Slater during a special offseason conference call on Monday. “He’s just a great kid to be around. He brings a lot of positive energy, he’s always got a smile on his face, and you can tell he’s very appreciative of the opportunity that he had last year and the opportunity that he’ll have going forward. So, certainly he has a lot of great qualities that can make him a good player at the quarterback position. Coach Belichick and his staff wouldn’t have brought him in here if they didn’t think he had those qualities.
“I think at that position, almost more than any other, it’s going to be the intangibles that get a guy to maybe a successful position. So, I think he’s got some good traits. I think he’s going to be a good player. His attack, his approach is going to have to be one day at a time, just like any of us. I think it’s important, and I’ll certainly encourage him, just to be himself – be himself, continue to be the person that he is, continue to be the teammate that he is, and we’ll just take this thing one day at a time.”
Slater joined Devin McCourty and Stephon Gilmore in offering praise for Stidham, who is likely going to enter camp (if it happens) as the leader in the clubhouse to start at QB in the fall (if that happens).
What Slater said about the QB position rings true. You can’t be a great quarterback without good leadership, positive energy, competitiveness, a good work ethic, performance under pressure, and the ability to do all that consistently. You need at least a basic level of arm talent, sure, but teams fall in love with arms too much because they can see it. If you have a QB who can throw the ball all over the place but has a poor attitude or lacks competitiveness or melts under the proverbial bright lights, at best you have Jay Cutler. Maybe score you some points, but certainly never win you a Super Bowl.
Hopefully, Stidham’s intangibles translate to on-field success. Because the arm talent is certainly there and he appears to be at the forefront of the Patriots’ plan at QB for the 2020 season. He’s far away from proving his worth as a long-term option, but his teammates have seen enough to pump him up publicly.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.