Dante Scarnecchia Says There Will Be 'Growing Pains' With Jarrett Stidham Under Center
The New England Patriots coaching staff has been relatively quiet about Jarrett Stidham up until this point in his career. They have praised him on occasion, but that's typical and not very insightful based on what they've said about him.
But there is one former Patriots coach that gave us some more nuggets to munch on recently in regards to the 2019 fourth-round pick.
Former New England offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia - who was on the coaching staff last year when the team drafted Stidham - talked about the differences between Tom Brady and Stidham during an interview on Sirius XM NFL radio on Monday.
“He’s a different guy in a couple of ways,” Scarnecchia said. “No. 1, he doesn’t have the wealth of experience that Tom has. There’s no doubt about that, and you have to concede that. Yes, there’s going to be some things where he’s going to hold the ball longer than you want it to be held, but that’s all about growing up in this league, and you know that as well as I do. You know, those young guys, they take some time. But I would say this for Jarrett, too: He’s a bright kid, and he’s a guy, who when he doesn’t know, he’ll take off. He showed in the preseason last year that he’s got some skills and he knows when to get out of there and where the escape points may be and when he gets out of there, he also knows he better get down, because he knows better than to try to run through guys as well. You’re not running through many guys in this league.
“So there’s going to be some growing pains. There’s no doubt about it. But the guy does have skills. He’s got a great mind. He cares. He shows up early. He goes home late. I wish him nothing but the best. If still there, I would just say, ‘Hey, listen fellas, we’ve got to do everything we can to make this guy as comfortable as we can, and I’m sure the guys that are going to coach those guys this year are saying exactly that. We’ve got to be as good as we can be every down and give this guy all the support we possibly can and let him get comfortable and build confidence and be the kind of player that we want him to be and that he wants to be more importantly.”
While the Patriots coaching staff has done nothing but praise Stidham since they drafted him last year, Scarnecchia peeled back the curtain for everyone and showed us that there is reason for caution as Stidham goes under center in 2020. He's going to having his "rookie" mistakes in Year 2, learning how to do things like get the ball out of his hands quickly and gaining experience in the process. Those are things that will only come by earning snaps, and no one should expect Stidham to come out of the gate "guns blazing."
Bill Belichick will put Stidham in a position to succeed, but that doesn't mean the sophomore quarterback will always succeed. It's natural. It happens. Stidham is not an exception. The NFL is a tough league to play in, which is why a majority of players don't perform at a high enough level to stay relevant for a long period of time.
The talent is there, but the experience isn't. That means we should have modest expectations for Jarrett Stidham.