Chase Winovich and N’Keal Harry have, up to this point, avoided the dreaded rookie haircut. Jarrett Stidham hasn’t been so lucky.
The first-year quarterback sported a fresh buzz cut during the New England Patriots’ third preseason game against the Carolina Panthers last Thursday, courtesy of the leader of his position group, Tom Brady.
“When you add a young player like Jarrett, it’s good to have the youth, too, and a lot of the excitement and someone to carry our pads and give haircuts to,” Brady said Monday during an appearance on WEEI’s “Greg Hill Show.” “I think the haircut last week was one of the best things of last week, which I really enjoyed doing.”
Stidham has been the Patriots’ third quarterback behind veterans Brady and Brian Hoyer since arriving in New England as a fourth-round draft pick this past spring, but a shift may be coming. Hoyer surprisingly did not play against the Panthers, with Stidham taking over for Brady midway through the second quarter and remaining in for the duration.
Through three preseason games, Stidham has completed 43 of 62 passes (69.4 percent) for 506 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions and a passer rating of 104.6.
“As a young player, he’s getting a lot of opportunities and a lot of reps on the practice field as well as the game field,” Brady said of Stidham on WEEI. “He’s doing a great job, and he’s going to keep working at it just like everyone else. We have a very healthy, competitive quarterback group. Brian has had really a great offseason, a great camp. He’s a real professional in every way. I love being in the room with Brian and what he adds to the group.”
It’s unclear what Hoyer’s DNP means for his roster status. Asked about that decision after the game, head coach Bill Belichick spoke of the need to evaluate every player, saying the 33-year-old Hoyer has “played a lot of football.”
The Patriots will play their final preseason game Thursday night against the New York Giants and must trim their roster from 90 players to 53 by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.