Brian Lewerke faces long odds for a roster spot as he enters his first NFL training camp. But Mike Giovando believes the quarterback be up for the challenge.
Giovando, Lewerke’s personal QB coach, expects the New England Patriots to be pleasantly surprised by what they’ll see from the undrafted Michigan State product.
“I’m not disappointed that he’s a free agent and didn’t get drafted,” Giovando recently told The Detroit News. “And he’s the same way. He’s happy he’s got a chance. He’s a great quarterback who’s gonna learn his playbook, and I think there are going to be some other things they’re going to see that they like. And when they get him out there and watch him throw it, they’re gonna be like, ‘He can spin it. He can spin it.’
“He can throw it and he can move it around the field. And when he gets in a game, he’s kind of a gamer, man. When he gets in the game and chips are on the line and when he’s healthy and feeling, he’s tough to deal with. He’s a good player, a really good player.”
Giovando, who obviously is not an unbiased evaluator, called Lewerke “a really, really good athlete” and “super intelligent.”
“I don’t see why he couldn’t definitely be around the league for a while,” Giovando told The Detroit News. “I think he’s got a chance to be around, and I mean for a while. Right now, he’s focused on just making this practice squad. He knows what they brought him in for, and that’s his focus. ‘I’m gonna get on this team and get me a spot and then from there, I’m gonna give them every reason not to get rid of me. I’m gonna make sure they keep me. I’m gonna do everything I can in my power to be here for a while.’ And that’s it. As a free agent, it’s just kind of the way you’ve got to play.”
After a promising 2017 season, Lewerke endured a terrible 2018 campaign (54.3 percent completion rate, eight touchdowns, 11 interceptions) and an uninspiring 2019 (59.6 percent, 17 touchdowns, 13 picks), tanking his draft stock. He and fellow UDFA J’Mar Smith will compete for the third spot on the depth chart behind starting hopefuls Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer.
The Patriots also could opt to cut either Lewerke or Smith once practices begin, as splitting reps between four QBs can be difficult. Lewerke’s contract reportedly includes just $2,500 in guaranteed money; Smith’s includes $30,000.