Michael Lombardi: Patriots open minded at QB, ‘not all-in’ on Jarrett Stidham

Andy Hart
April 09, 2020 - 10:37 am

Last week, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay created a little buzz around Jarrett Stidham when he declared somewhat definitively that the second-year quarterback and presumed heir to Tom Brady’s job is “not ready to lead the New England Patriots.”

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Longtime Bill Belichick friend and former Patriots staffer Michael Lombardi – whose son Mick Lombardi spent last season as New England’s assistant quarterbacks coach – responded to McShay’s comments on his GM Shuffle podcast this week.

“We’re learning that because people are on television, me included, there is a sense of opinion. Todd is giving his opinion. He has every right to give his opinion because ESPN pays him for his opinion. What you try to do is base some of your opinions on facts. Where I think Todd, unless he knows somebody in that building, I don’t know if he has any facts to his opinion,” Lombardi said of McShay’s assessment that he believes is based simply on college tape and one ugly appearance in mop-up duty as a rookie against the Jets.

Lombardi goes on to declare that he likes Stidham’s ability and potential, but that the Patriots are far from “all-in” on the second-year former fourth-round pick out of Auburn.

“I think Stidham is way better than Todd does. I think Stidham was a better college player,” Lombardi said. “Now, do I think the Patriots could easily go out and sign Cam Newton? Yeah, I think there is no doubt they could easily go out and sign Cam Newton. I think if they could sign Jameis Winston, if he didn’t have some of the off-the-field stuff with him I think they would probably go out and sign Jameis Winston. That being said, they’re going to give Stidham every opportunity. Where I think Todd misses the boat here a little bit is that they’re not all-in on Stidham. Stidham is going to have to earn it. Where they’re not being blinded by Stidham. They’re not being the Mitchell Trubisky, MVP Mitch, and just saying, ‘OK it’s your job.’ They’re going to go in with an open mind. That, to me, is more important than anything.”

Lombardi believes part of what’s keeping Winston and Newton on the market is the inability of teams to host free agents and give them physicals during the coronavirus pandemic that’s shut down NFL facilities and so much of the country. The former Browns GM then went into a deep discussion breaking down quarterbacks drafted in the first round dating back to 2002 and the nature of it being at best a “50/50 proposition.”

Lombardi closes with one other factor relating to Stidham’s development and potential for success that he doesn’t think enough people, including McShay, are taking into consideration.

“The reality of the draft, where I don’t think Todd is giving this enough credibility, is that Josh McDaniels coaches Jarrett Stidham,” Lombardi said. “And when you look at this list (of successful quarterbacks drafted in the first round), and you see Alex Smith on here who wasn’t very good until he got to Andy Reid or you see Lamar Jackson who’s got Greg Roman coaching him. And you see Carson Wentz when he played with Frank Reich and Doug Pederson, you say wait a minute isn’t it the coach that’s helping these players? Because there are too many misses on this list. There are too many misses. There are not enough good players. It’s like, if you take a quarterback in the first round and you’ve studied from 2002-2019, the chances of you hitting on that guy are like the chances of me finding oil in Ocean City.”

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