Bill Belichick previously had maintained plans to continue starting Cam Newton at quarterback, but the longtime New England coach didn’t rule out switching to Jarrett Stidham now that the Patriots officially have been eliminated from playoff contention.
After Sunday’s loss to Miami knocked the Pats out of the playoff hunt for the first time since 2008, Belichick said it “could be a possibility in certain situations” when asked if he would use the final two games to evaluate players for next season.
When asked specifically about giving Stidham “an extended look” in that regard. Belichick replied: “Really the same question you just asked, so we’ll see.”
Belichick later contradicted himself and said “I don’t really see it going that way,” but he added the Pats will “go through our normal weekly process and make the decisions that we feel are best for the game in everything” ahead of next Monday’s game against Buffalo.
In his first season since replacing Tom Brady as New England’s quarterback, the 31-year-old Newton has thrown for just 2,381 yards and five touchdown passes with 10 interceptions through 13 starts. He also has 489 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns on the ground.
The 24-year-old Stidham saw significant time in one game in October while Newton was on the COVID-19 reserve list. Stidham replaced an ineffective Brian Hoyer at halftime of a loss to the Chiefs.
“Really, we have a lot of team questions we need to answer,” Belichick said. “That will be the overriding thing. We’ll talk about that (Monday). We have an extra day this week and look at things from a bigger picture standpoint. Obviously, haven’t played the run well the last two weeks. We haven’t been able to score a touchdown the last two weeks. I don’t think this is about any one individual.”
Appearing on WEEI Radio in Boston on Monday morning, Newton said he will leave the decision “up to the people who I’ve been leaving it up to since” he arrived in Foxborough. “I am still on the job interview, to be honest with you,” he said.
Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP with Carolina, also indicated he has no plans to retire, saying, “After putting out this film? …I can’t go out like this.”