Would no preseason benefit Jarrett Stidham or Cam Newton?

Ryan Hannable
July 08, 2020 - 9:55 am
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The NFL preseason is up in the air at the moment -- there could be two games, one game or even no games at all.

So, how would that impact the Patriots and their current quarterback situation after adding Cam Newton to the mix in late June?

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Appearing on Dale & Keefe Tuesday, NBC Sports' Tom E. Curran said no preseason games would actually benefit second-year player Jarrett Stidham when it comes to being the Week 1 starter.

“I would say Stidham," he said. "I am throwing darts and hypothesizing on what I think is a unique situation that we don’t often see a quarterback being added in June who is this freaking good, potentially, for that little money. … Would I be saying this if it was Matt Stafford? I think it is good to audit what we’re saying here, especially now. Am I treating Cam differently? It is a far different offense that the Patriots have run. I would have looked at Stafford and said, ‘OK, he’s a drop-back guy coming into a drop-back offense. Cam is a move-around guy.’ But, I think the Patriots were going to change anyway. 

“It would probably benefit Stidham more if there were no opportunity at all for the Patriots to see Cam Newton playing in full contact 11-on-11 against another team.”

On the flip side, what if the Patriots don't see Newton against an opposing defense? Would they really not start him Week 1 because of that? As long as Newton is healthy, he's likely better than Stidham at this point in his career, so why not throw him into the action right away? 

How much does a few reps in the preseason really matter, especially when the entire NFL would be in the same position? Every team would be working out some kinks the first few regular-season games anyway.

“I think Cam Newton will get it," Curran said. "I think he will understand the offense. I think he will show his poise, leadership and athletic ability. Just will he be in the position to be the best option available Day 1 and are you basing that on, ‘Well, this is how good he is. He hasn’t really shown it to us, but he’s going to.'”

From this viewpoint, if healthy, preseason or not, Newton should be the Week 1 starter, but we'll see how everything goes.

Related: It appears Cam Newton is already studying Patriots playbook