New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Superman Arrives in Foxboro!

Stid the Kid Has Company

Tom Brady has set an impossibly high barometer in Foxboro, and no one expects the heir-apparent, Jarrett Stidham, to maintain those dizzying heights. Well, that’s the politically correct thing to say but it’s not really true, especially for those who worship at the altar of the Flying Elvis and genuflect whenever Bill Belichick’s name is uttered.

You see, the comparisons will inevitably be made and when Stidham fails to connect on a go-route to an open target, the legions of New England fans who have been spoiled rotten over the past two decades will roll their eyes in disbelief and mutter, “He’s no Brady.”

Naturally, fans from every other part of the country will revel in the Patriots’ misery and bask in the afterglow of a delicious season of schadenfreude. But this all assumes that Jarrett Stidham will fail miserably and as a result, so too will the Patriots.

Unfortunately for those who have waited nearly 20 years for Bill’s Boys to take a nosedive, Jarrett Stidham will not be an abject failure this season. In fact, the likelihood is that he will be much more of a positive influence in the New England offense rather than a negative.

The reason for the rose-colored glasses has everything to do with the man calling the shots – Bill Belichick. Consider for a moment that New England never drafted a quarterback this past April, nor did they immediately latch on to one of the many veteran free agent QB’s who were available.

However, the last remaining big-name, free agent, signal-caller was recently inked to a one-year, incentive-laden deal with New England. Yes, Cam Newton, aka Superman, is coming to town but he is not necessarily a lock to be given the keys to the offense, as many believe this will be an open competition between, he and Jarret Stidham. Newton may be more of an insurance policy if Stidham proves he is not up to the task, as he is still rehabbing from a foot injury that derailed his 2019 campaign.

With Newton added to the Patriots’ quarterback stable, the team now has Stidham, a journeyman quarterback, Brian Hoyer, who is in his third tour of duty in Foxboro, as well as two undrafted rookies in Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke and Louisiana Tech’s J’Mar Smith.

Newton could begin the season on the IR if Stidham looks sharp and the former Panther’s foot is not fully recovered. It would appear the two undrafted rookies have little chance of sticking on the roster as a veteran presence is desperately needed considering Stidham only has one year under his belt and a grand total of four passing attempts.

Prior to Newton’s signing, the oddsmakers were dealing the Patriots at +150 to win the division, +1300 to win the conference, and +2800 to win the Super Bowl. But once word broke that Newton had agreed to play in New England this year, the oddsmakers immediately took the Patriots off the board until they could come to grips with the unfolding situation in Foxboro and determine how profound an impact Newton could potentially have on the perennial AFC East champs. When the dust settled and the oddsmakers readjusted, the Patriots are currently being offered at +130 (division), +1200 (conference), and +2500 (Super Bowl).

 

Pats Need to Run to Win

The offensive line is healthy and with center David Andrews making a full recovery after sitting out the entire 2019 season with blood clots in his lungs, the prospects are looking good for providing a clean pocket to whomever (likely, Stidham or Newton) is under center for the Pats this season and for the running backs who need daylight to do their jobs.

However, any chance the Patriots have of maintaining their laudable legacy after 20 years of the GOAT, Tom Brady, pulling the trigger is only enhanced if they focus their playbook on the running game. If opposing defenses have to key on Sony Michele, James White, Rex Burkhead, and/or Damien Harris then it will mean a much cleaner pocket for young Jarrett Stidham, or the former MVP with something to prove, Cam Newton, and provide either with more time to search for open receivers.

Historically, the Patriots have done their best work when their running game is on point and commands a substantial portion of their offensive game plan. Consider for a moment that over the course of Bill Belichick’s 20 seasons in New England, the Patriots averaged a 13-3 record and won the Super Bowl three times in the five years that they boasted a thousand-yard rusher. In the 15 other seasons, New England averaged 11 ½ regular-season wins and, although they won the Super Bowl three times as well, it was over a span three times as long and equals a 20 percent versus a 60 percent championship rate.


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