This One Small Comment By Bill Belichick Shocked Skip Bayless

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Nothing Bill Belichick said Monday about Tom Brady really stood out to Skip Bayless.

However, Bayless couldn’t believe his ears when the Patriots coach spoke about Jarrett Stidham, who appears to be the frontrunner to replace Brady as New England’s starting quarterback this season.

“When it was time to talk about the other quarterbacks, about Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham, he referred to Brian Hoyer as ‘Brian,’ and then he referred to Jarrett Stidham as ‘Stid,’ ” Bayless said Tuesday on FS1’s “Undisputed.” “We heard on the podcasts that the McCourtys did the other day, they call him ‘Stiddy’ — with a ‘y’ on it; ‘Stiddy.’ But Belichick just called him ‘Stid.’ Stid?

“I have been closely observing Bill Belichick for at least 20 years, in large part because of Tom Brady. But in all those 20 years of me following the Patriots … I can’t remember one time that Bill Belichick ever referred to any player he’s ever coached by his nickname. He’s not a nickname user. Especially with an unproven, young quarterback — a second-year quarterback. What are you doing? Seriously. Stid? Did he ever call Tom ‘Tommy?’ No. Not one time that I ever heard.”

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While this might seem like a weird thing for Bayless to focus on, he believes Belichick referring to Stidham by his nickname is indicative of a bigger development. The Patriots are entering a season without Brady as their starting quarterback for the first time since 2001, yet Belichick’s apparent chumminess with Stidham seems to suggest he has high hopes for the 2019 fourth-round draft pick as the organization moves on from TB12.

“To me, the coach who never says anything in any sort of press conference situation, or in this circumstance a conference call, he said volumes by calling the young quarterback, that we all think he’s going to try to make his starting quarterback, by a nickname. He called him ‘Stid,’ ” Bayless said. “He used affection that he would never use for any other player, and I thought that one tiny, little, four-letter nickname spoke volumes about what he’s about to try to do.

“This is his ‘Tommy.’ This is the kid that he’s going to say ‘watch this’ with. ‘I found him in the fourth round. He’s going to be my new Tom Brady.’ … Now he’s going to say, ‘I’m starting over with Jarret Stidham — Stid — because I’ll show you I can win with just any ol’ quarterback, even my fourth-rounder that I picked when nobody else loved Jarrett Stidham.’ ”

Is Bayless reading too much into Belichick’s casual nickname drop? Maybe. But it won’t be surprising if Stidham is under center when New England opens its 2020 season, and it’ll be fascinating to see how the young signal-caller performs under pressure.

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