I have an idea for everybody, instead of already writing off the Patriots, or spending your day complaining on Twitter and YouTube comments, just enjoy it.
I don't want people to get too low on the New England Patriots, but on the flip side I also don't want people to get too high. I'm very excited that Pat's Nation is starting to embrace Jarrett Stidham, I believe that he could become a very serviceable quarterback for New England. I just want everybody to temper their expectations. The Patriots could finish the 8-8, or they could surprise a lot of people and finish with 10 or 11 wins and sneak into that newly announced seventh playoff spot. The reality is, we have no idea what type of team the Patriots are going to be this season. For those of you that are on the Patriots suck bandwagon, stop it. But, those of you who think the Patriots should be seen as a Super Bowl contender also need to pump the breaks a little.
We won't really know who the Patriots are going to be until about November. That's been pretty typical for the Patriots the last ten or fifteen years, but this year is going to be anything but typical. For the first time since 2000 Belichick will be leading the Patriots into a season without Tom Brady on the roster.
The veterans and leaders on the team have shown that they are much more confident than perhaps some of the fan base is. Devin McCourty is embracing the doubt, and he seems ready to prove the rest of the NFL, fans, and media wrong.
“My goal, always is to win as many games as possible,” he said. “I don’t think we ever come in the season and think, Super Bowl Super Bowl Super Bowl. It’s about improving and winning games along the way. I think that will stay the same.” You have a lot of time to be on Twitter and a lot of what I’ve seen is people tweeting me like, ‘Enjoy what you guys had, it’s over. You guys won’t win a game.’ So, I think that’s natural though. I think if I was a fan and I watched a team and I watched a guy for a long time, and he left and he was so great, I would say, ‘That team is going to be terrible, too.” It’s expected, but I think our job as players is to go out there and compete.” - Devin McCourty
Listening to a leader like McCourty talking about competing is enough to get any true Patriots fans mojo running. There's also Matthew Slater and Stephon Gilmore who have thrown their support behind Jarrett Stidham.
“He came in and worked hard and got better and better as the year went on. He has a strong arm,” Gilmore told ESPN of the 23-year-old Stidham. “He makes some tough throws. Definitely made it hard on me in practice each and every week, going against whoever I was covering, making some great throws. It allowed me to get better in practice to prepare for the games.”
Patriots fans and the media wouldn't really have an idea of how Stidham progressed throughout the year. But getting this type of feedback from Gilmore, a guy who would have faced Stidham everyday at practice, his teammates are the only ones who could give is a glimpse of what Stidham could be this year.
Slater also had nothing but positive things to say about Stidham.
“Certainly, he has a lot of great qualities that can make him a good player at the quarterback position,” Slater said of the 2019 fourth-round draft pick.Coach Belichick and his staff wouldn't have brought him in here if they didn't think he had those qualities. At that position, almost more than any other, it's going to be the intangibles that get a guy to a successful position."
As great as all this all sounds, what do we expect them to say? "We don't trust Jarrett, we have no idea how we're going to win without Tom"? You have to expect that competitors and champions are going to say all the right things, and walk into the new season with confidence. That's where we need to manage our expectations. I'm a very optimistic Patriots fan, and I have been known to find the best in the team even when they're at their worst, but even I know that this is a day by day process.
What gives me confidence in the Patriots moving forward are the players' attitudes. We’ve seen other players on other teams publicly lash out, IE Stefon Diggs, but we don’t see that kind of attitude in New England. Devin McCourty chose to return to the Patriots, and with the way everything went down, I believe that he had an idea Brady wasn’t coming back, but he still chose to return to New England.
I’m looking forward to this season, we have so many unanswered questions, and we’re in a very different position than we’ve been in ever since Drew Bledsoe was injured. I don’t think the Patriots are going to suck, but I'm not prepared to say they’re going to be great. This is all a wait and see, but I have an idea for everybody, instead of already writing off the Patriots, or spending your day complaining on Twitter and YouTube comments, just enjoy it.