Cam Newton recently saw a different Jarrett Stidham. However, that will not yet be enough to cost Newton his job.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick dismissed any discussion of a quarterback change after Ugly Thursday night 24-3 loss to the Rams which knocked New England down to 6-7.
“Cam is our quarterback,” Belichick said, cutting a reporter’s question in the post-game press conference.
Newton, who suffers from an injury to his abdomen, was taken out for Stidham early in the fourth quarter. The veteran finished 9 for 16 for 119 yards and threw a crushing six pick on a horribly thrown screen pass that gave Los Angeles a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter.
“It’s not my decision,” Newton said of a possible shift change. “I just do as I’m asked, with the mentality to improve myself, and that’s what I continue to plan to do.”
Stidham completed 5 of 7 passes for 27 yards in his brief opportunity Thursday night. Stidham has appeared in four games this season, although three of those appearances have come as part of cleaning duties.
When Newton missed a Week 4 game against the Chiefs, Stidham replaced Brian Hoyer in the second half in his only significant action of the season. Still, Newton was impressed with what he saw from the sophomore quarterback in practice recently.
“Man, I’m so proud of Stid, man,” Newton said this week on WEEI’s “Greg Hill Show”.
“We had a conversation (Monday) in the QB room, and honestly, his growth and development is something that really caught my attention. Because I know him well enough to know that I don’t know if he hits that throw or if he’s able to stay in that pocket – a cloudy pocket, for what it was – and fire an absolute hit at Gun. Show.
The loss dropped New England 2½ games behind the Colts for last place in the AFC. Newton’s running ability (451 yards, 11 touchdowns) added a different facet to the Patriots offense, however, his current lack of arm strength and precision limited the passing attack (five touchdowns, 10 interceptions. ) all season.
It seems unlikely that Newton, 31, who signed a one-year contract last offseason, will be the Patriots’ response to QB beyond this season. Stidham may not be either, but Belichick could use the end of this season to better judge the former Auburn star and fourth-round draft pick.
“I’m still a (supporter) of winning football, and watching him grow up is something I’m extremely happy with,” Newton said of Stidham.