One former Patriot sees the team going in a different direction, at least to begin the 2020 season.
Ex-Pats linebacker Rob Ninkovich said Friday morning on ESPN's "Get Up" he believes it will be veteran Brian Hoyer, not Stidham, starting under center for New England in Week 1.
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"I think Brian Hoyer will be the starter Week 1 and I say that because the quarterback position is one of the most important for reps under center, seeing defensive looks, looking at coverage, understanding the offense," Ninkovich said. "Look, they're not practicing right now. There's no minicamp, there's no offseason, there's no training camp. We don't know when that's going to happen.
"So if you have a veteran quarterback who has been in the system, understands what to expect what an NFL season is like, you're gonna want to go with a guy who has the veteran leadership (and) also what it takes to be in that building. Look, when you're a second-year player, you really don't realize what a season's like as a starter. You don't understand what it's going to take, and not having an offseason does not help. So, Brian Hoyer will be the starter Week 1."
Watch the full clip below:
Ninkovich makes an interesting point by noting the importance of quarterbacks getting as many reps as possible heading into the season. The lost offseason caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could hinder Stidham's development, as our own Tom E. Curran recently explained.
Still, several Patriots players have raved about Stidham's preparedness and his quick development during his rookie campaign. The organization clearly has faith in the 2019 fourth-round draft pick, so perhaps the limited reps this offseason won't play a factor in head coach Bill Belichick's decision.
It'll simply come down to whether Belichick wants to ease Stidham into the 2020 season, or if he believes the 23-year-old is ready to be thrown into the fire as Brady's successor.