I don’t know how many times I can say the New England Patriots are moving into a new era before it loses all it’s gusto. It’s been three months since Tom Brady announced he was taking his talents to Tampa Bay, yet it seems like every story I cover seems to be attached to Brady.
As the Patriots head into the unknown with Jarrett Stidham, people wonder what his inner circle is going to look like. If you have paid attention at all over the 15 years, everybody knows about Tom Brady’s exclusive inner circle. People we know that were a part of that club were Rob Gronkowski, Randy Moss, Chris Hogan, Wes Welker, Danny Amendola, Deion Branch, and of course Julian Edelman. Of course there were others, but those are the big names that jump off the page. That has left some people wondering who is going to be Stidham’s inner circle? Bernd Buchmasser from Pats Pulpit named a few guys including Edelman, Will Hastings, James White, Dalton Keene, and the guy that I think Stidham will target the most, Jakobi Meyers.
“Last year, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said that Meyers would not be a “player that other teams are saying, ‘We’ve got to double-cover this guy.’” Still, he showed some positive strides during his rookie campaign and developed a rapport with Stidham over the course of the preseason: in four exhibition games, the two connected 16 times on 21 targets for a combined 216 yards and a touchdown (and a passer rating of 124.3). Meyers may never become the next Julian Edelman, but he could grow into a reliable contributor and potential safety blanket for Stidham for years to come.”
I have been a big fan of Meyers since he came on the scene last year. The connection that he and Stidham had during the preseason wasn’t lost on me, and when Brady played most of the first half of the third game, I knew right there that we wouldn’t know exactly what Meyers could do until Brady wasn’t the quarterback. Before you start screaming and yelling at me, that wasn’t a shot at Tom Brady, you could just see that the connection wasn’t there. Of course it came out later that Brady didn’t feel it was his job to coach the rookie receivers, and you could visibly see Brady get frustrated with Meyers at times. With Stidham taking over behind centre, I believe we will see Meyers become a big part of the Patriots offense in 2020.
But an inner circle is bigger than one guy, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Edelman, White, and one of the tight ends in the mix. You may also be noticing that I left N’Keal Harry off this list, and trust me it was intentional, and it almost killed me. But, as we head into the 2020 season, Harry is going to need to win me over, because after I spent the entire 2019 offseason pumping his tires, Harry really disappointed me last season, so until he can show me some consistency and creating separation, he’s going to cast a lot of doubt in my mind.
Fortantley for Stidham there are other options around the offense, and once the team can get together, he can start building his own inner circle.