By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
One of the hottest trends among NFL offenses in recent years has been to add elements from the college game. From air raid schemes to read-options, Sundays are starting to look more and more like Saturdays.
Are the Patriots about to take the next big step in that development, and incorporate a college-like platoon at quarterback? Don’t completely rule it out.
So far during training camp, Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, and Brian Hoyer have all more or less had an even split when it comes to reps. Speaking with the media Wednesday morning, Bill Belichick was asked when we can expect to see a starter emerge.
“Of course at some point, we’ll have to not equalize the reps…but where not there now,” he answered.
Later on though, Belichick was asked if there’s a chance both Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham get regular reps once the season gets underway, as a platoon.
“I always say I’ll do what I think is best for the team, what gives us the best chance to win,” Belichick told reporters. “So whatever that is, I would certainly consider that. Let’s run unbalanced line, or double-unbalanced line, or 23 personnel, or whatever it is. If it helps us win, then I would consider anything. ”
Now keep in mind, things like a double-unbalanced line [all four guards and tackles are on the same side as the center] or 23 personnel [two running backs, three tight ends, and no wide receivers in the formation] are used very sparingly, usually brought out in very specific situations to gain a singular advantage.
Belichick putting a quarterback platoon in the same category as these concepts could give us some insight into how he would view one working for his football team. Instead of Newton and Stidham splitting the reps 50-50, it could be a situation where one guy handles the majority of the workload, with the other having a handful of plays to capitalize on his abilities in specific situations (red zone, goal line, 3rd & 10+, etc). That would also track with his earlier answer of not equalizing the reps later in camp.
Then again, it could also be Belichick saying he’ll consider anything in order to deflect from his real intentions. It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.
As the Patriots quarterback battle continues to heat up, make sure to keep checking in with 985TheSportsHub for updates.