New England Patriots running back James White is the latest team captain to talk up young quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
Stidham is the favorite to take over as the Patriots’ starting quarterback after Tom Brady left in free agency to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The only other quarterback on the Patriots’ roster is Brian Hoyer, who will compete with Stidham in training camp and preseason for the top role.
“Guys come and go each and every year, so you have to be able to compete with new people,” White said Thursday on a conference call. “We’re confident in Stidham, confident in Hoyer, whoever it happens to be.”
Stidham was a rookie during the 2019 season, and it seems he impressed his teammates. Safety Devin McCourty and special teams captain Matthew Slater have both spoken highly of the second-year pro.
“He came in and competed right away,” White said. “Our offense can be pretty complex, and he was willing to learn, willing to take coaching. He was fighting no matter what the situation is. The second year, he’ll come in ready to learn. We’re all competing trying to make each other better football players, be on the same page on offense so we can all help each other out.”
White, like Stidham, didn’t play a significant role as a rookie, collecting just 14 touches for 61 yards. He touched the ball 61 times as a second-year player, and his production grew from there.
“For me, Year 2 was huge,” White said. “I didn’t really play my first year. There’s some guys on our team who didn’t play their first year or didn’t play that much. They’re going to come in that second year, the expectations are going to be a little bit higher. You know the offense, you know the defense, you know the special teams, now it’s just time to go out there and execute everything. You want to compete, make your teammates better, show them you’re going to be reliable on first, second, third down, whatever it is. You can’t be making the same mistakes because it’s going to be competition out there.”
For now, Stidham’s only competition is Hoyer. The Patriots could still add a third quarterback through free agency, trade or the draft.