With news of quarterback Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots back on March 20, the question of who will helm the team’s offense is still up in the air. Prior to Brady’s exit the team had second-year QB Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer, but have since added veteran Cam Newton since his departure.
Depending on who becomes the starting QB for the Patriots will determine the amount of damage the team may do against the Miami Dolphins’ defense in 2020.
Miami went out and got players that could help improve its overall defense against the rest of its competition despite this fact. However, while there is promise for the Dolphins’ reborn defense, a young roster could struggle against the three looming QB options up in New England.
Second-Year QB Jarrett Stidham
Stidham is entering his second season professionally as a member of the Patriots. Playing under the likes of Brady, Stidham was not able to make much of a name for himself in the league in his rookie year. Stidham made three appearances on the field in 2019 and completed 2-of-4 pass attempts for only 14 yards. Brady did not miss a game in 2019, providing next to no opportunities to the University of Auburn alum. Of course with Brady gone, Stidham’s playing time could go up significantly, but the other two guys are players that can not be overlooked.
Veteran Brian Hoyer
Hoyer is a quarterback that has been able to say that his name filled a roster spot for the past 10 seasons. His production during his first 10 years has not been consistent however, appearing in just 69 total games during his career, starting in just 38 of them. Looking for his big opportunity to really lead an offense, the Patriots are knocking even if he has a lot to prove.
Hoyer’s two best seasons offensively came in 2014 and 2015. In 2014, he started in 13-of-14 games for the Cleveland Browns. He had a 7-6 winning record, completing 242-of-438 pass attempts for 3,326 yards and 12 touchdowns.
As a member of the Houston Texans the following season in 2015, Hoyer made nine starts in 11 appearances posting a 5-4 record. He had a more accurate throwing season, completing 224-of-369 pass attempts, good for 60.7 percent. Those completed passes racked up 2,606 yards and 19 scores.
Ever since 2015 however he has not been the same quarterback for any organization. His chance to shine could come depending on who New England head coach Bill Belichick picks to become his new starting QB. Unfortunately, Hoyer’s up and down career is working against him.
Veteran Cam Newton
The final QB in the running is Newton. He signed a small one-year contract just last month after the Carolina Panthers did not give him a new deal. Newton’s history and success on the field may prove to help his new team continue to dominate in the AFC East and league overall.
Before we get ahead of ourselves on the Newton train, we need to dive into what he has done as a Panther since he entered the league.
Taking a Gander at Newton’s NFL Career
He came into the league in 2011 and has an overall record of 68-55-1 as a starter. In 2013 we saw a glimpse of what Newton could do in his first few years in the league. He led the Panthers to a 12-4 record showing his progression and the damage he could do offensively after winning just 13 total games in his first two seasons combined. Newton went 292-of-473 on throws that year, completing 61.7 of his pass attempts and throwing for 24 TDs.
Newton: Nearly a Super Bowl Champion
Two years later in 2015, Newton put on one of the single best season campaigns in Carolina history when he led the Panthers to a 15-1 record overall that year and a Super Bowl 50 appearance. Losing only the one game before Super Bowl 50, all eyes were on Newton to deliver a ring to Carolina. He’d end up dropping the game to future Hall-of-Famer QB Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, but had one of the best statistical seasons of his career.
While the Denver Broncos won that Super Bowl, Newton’s numbers earned him the MVP trophy for his performance during the regular season. He completed 296-of-495 passing attempts and racked up 35 scores.
Newton’s Health, a Concern?
Health concerns and multiple injuries have since weakened Newton’s potential as it has been no secret he isn’t the same QB he was in his historic 2015 run.
Newton Clearly the Best Rushing Option
The thing that separates Newton from his fellow quarterbacks on the Patriots is that he is able to run the football effectively. In every season except for 2019 when he had to miss most of the season due to injury, he managed to carry the football at least 90 times and score at least four TDs when he ran the football. His best rushing seasons came in 2011 and 2015.
Hoyer’s Veteran Leadership Better Than Newton’s?
Hoyer may not be an effective rusher on the ground as a QB, but he has played for Belichick before where that could prove to help him out in getting more playing time. Being a 10-year veteran, Hoyer brings a level of worry for opposing teams. Hoyer has been in the game for years and already learned some under Belichick. He’s a guy, that if given the right offensive game plan, could turn around and become a somewhat dominant quarterback for the first time in years.
How can that hurt Miami’s defense? Lack of veteran leadership and experience has plagued the Dolphins for years. If Hoyer blossoms and reads Miami’s defense well, it will turn into some unfortunate losses for the Dolphins this upcoming season.
Stidham, a Belichick Prospect, Can Still Compete
What about Stidham? It is hard to say with Stidham how he can hurt Miami’s defense. Not having enough playing time during his rookie campaign to make an accurate analysis makes it tough to gauge a prediction on him. The way he performed as a QB in 2019, fans and spectators should not put too much emphasis on him going into 2020. With Belichick working with him, who knows what type of player Stidham could become if given the opportunity to start for the Patriots however. Only time can tell.
A second year player, a 10-year veteran and a former MVP look to lead the Patriots back to glory in 2020. Fans saw what Belichick was able to do with Brady, and with his decades of coaching, none should be overlooked.
First Meeting During Opening Weekend
Will Miami’s new faces on defense be able to stop the three quarterbacks of New England? We’ll find out for the NFL’s kickoff weekend when the two teams will face off at 1:00 pm on Sunday Sept. 13 in Foxborough.