Jarrett Stidham, Patriots challenged by unique offseason

Andy Hart
June 11, 2020 - 4:47 pm

With a few exceptions, the Patriots haven’t been at work at Gillette Stadium since the team’s departure following last January’s disappointing Wild Card loss to the Titans.

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No offseason program.

No OTAs.

No mini-camp.

No productive workouts or team-bonding hangouts.

Nothing but virtual meetings from afar and group text chains.

While Bill Belichick and his players have expressed positive reviews of the work that’s been done while apart with the coronavirus shutting down not just sports but most of the world, there is no doubt that both mentally and physically the players will likely be behind when they are tentatively expected to report for training camp on July 28.

One guy many have pointed to as being most adversely affected by the lack of a traditional offseason is second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, the former fourth-round pick expected to compete for the starting job in New England following Tom Brady’s surprising free agent departure this spring.

But according to veteran running back James White, Stidham is far from the only guy facing unique challenges this offseason.

“I think it’s going to be challenging for everybody, not just the younger guys,” White said on Thursday in a WebEx with the local media. “Not being together, you usually have two and a half months of working together, building that camaraderie, forming those relationships. We’re just going to be thrown into the fire a little bit (in training camp). Gotta come in, study the plays, be in condition so you limit the amount of mistakes because at the snap of a finger you’re going to be playing in a game. So, it’s going to be challenging for everybody across the league and we’ll see if we can face that adversity and make the most out of it.”

Stidham has been reportedly leading some unofficial workouts and throwing sessions with his receivers, part of the process of players trying get their work in despite not being allowed at Gillette Stadium and in most cases not even having other gym facilities to turn to.

“Everybody is just trying to find ways to stay in shape,” White said. “Everybody is going to be doing different things. There is going to be different access to different facilities. Different states, some stuff is still closed some stuff is open. You have to find ways to lift weights, run, catch the football, go over your football plays, go over your notes. Stay on top of things. We don’t know when we’re going to start, whether it’s going to be early or later. So you have to stay on top of it. But it’s going to be tough those first few days in camp or whenever we start no matter how you are doing because it’s a little bit different once everything is kind of flying around, coaches are yelling and things of that nature. It’s going to be an adjustment. You just have to be in the best shape possible so whenever you get back out there you are ready to go.”

Related: James White: Patriots ‘will figure something out as a team’ to peacefully protest on game days