Patriots champion says Jarrett Stidham won't start right away

Jarrett Stidham seems like the logical choice to replace Tom Brady.

The Patriots used a fourth-round pick on him last year, and the 23-year-old was a quality college quarterback and possesses plenty of upside.

But not everybody thinks Stidham will be under center for New England when the season begins. Rob Ninkovich, a former Patriots linebacker and two-time champion, expects experience to be the overriding factor in coach Bill Belichick’s decision, and that would favor Brian Hoyer, a longtime backup.

“I think Brian Hoyer will be the starter Week 1 and I say that because the quarterback position is one of the most important for reps under center, seeing defensive looks, looking at coverage, understanding the offense,” he said Friday on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “Look, they’re not practicing right now (due to the coronavirus pandemic). There’s no minicamp, there’s no offseason, there’s no training camp. We don’t know when that’s going to happen.

“So if you have a veteran quarterback who has been in the system, understands what to expect what an NFL season is like, you’re gonna want to go with a guy who has the veteran leadership [and] also what it takes to be in that building. Look, when you’re a second-year player, you really don’t realize what a season’s like as a starter. You don’t understand what it’s going to take, and not having an offseason does not help. So, Brian Hoyer will be the starter Week 1.”

The 34-year-old Hoyer spent his first three seasons in the league with the Patriots, came back in 2017 and 2018 and signed back in New England after spending last season with the Colts. His best year was 2015 with the Texans when he threw 19 touchdown passes, seven interceptions and completed 60.7 percent of his passes in 11 games. Stidham, a former star at Baylor and Auburn, has attempted four NFL passes but has been garnered a lot of praise from teammates.



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