New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 22: Jarrett Stidham #4 talks with Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels during the preseason game between the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 22, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By 98.5 The Sports Hub Staff

Former Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia isn’t in the hot take business. So when he describes likely starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham, “Scar” is as fair & balanced as it gets.

Scarnecchia worked closely with Stidham in his final season overseeing the Patriots’ O-line before his retirement in January. During that time, Scarnecchia says he met a smart, skilled signal-caller – but also one with no meaningful playing experience in the NFL. It’s why he and the Patriots are the league’s biggest wild card entering the 2020 season.

“This is a different guy [from Tom Brady] in a couple of ways,” Scarnecchia said in an interview on SiriusXM Radio (as transcribed by NESN’s Zack Cox). “No. 1, he doesn’t have the wealth of experience that Tom has. There’s no doubt about that, and you have to concede that, No. 1. Yes, there’s going to be some things where he’s going to hold the ball longer than you want it to be held, but that’s all about growing up in this league, and you know that as well as I do. Those young guys, they take some time. But I will say this for Jarrett, too: He’s a bright kid, and he’s a guy that, when he doesn’t know, he’ll take off. He showed in the preseason last year that he’s got some skills. He knows when to get out of there and where the escape points may be, and when he gets out of there, he also knows when he’d better get down, because he knows better than to try to run through guys, as well. You’re not running through many guys in this league.

“So there’s going to be some growing pains – there’s no doubt about it. But the guy does have skills. He’s got a great mind. He cares. He shows up early, gets home late. And I wish him nothing but the best.”

Dante Scarnecchia foresees growing pains with Jarrett Stidham, but liked a lot about the young quarterback as well. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Dante Scarnecchia foresees growing pains with Jarrett Stidham, but liked a lot about the young quarterback as well. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Scarnecchia also hopes that the rest of the Patriots locker room, which still boasts some of the strongest veteran leadership in the NFL, would rally around Stidham and play their best team football.

“If still there, I would just say, ‘Look, fellas, we’ve got to do everything we can to make this guy as comfortable as we can,'” Scarnecchia said. “And I’m sure the guys that are going to coach those guys this year are saying exactly that. ‘We’ve got to be as good as we can be every down and give this guy all the support we possibly can, let him get comfortable and build confidence and be the kind of player that we want him to be and that he wants to be, more importantly.”

Stidham reportedly had the inside track to start for the Patriots at quarterback earlier in the offseason. Brian Hoyer re-signed for J’Mar Smith out of Louisiana Tech and Brian Lewerke out of Michigan State.

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