Gus Malzahn believes Jarrett Stidham is ready to be Patriots starting QB
As the NFL moves into the post-draft portion of its offseason, former Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham remains the clubhouse leader to be the new New England Patriots starting quarterback. Tigers coach Gus Malzahn is confident that the Baylor transfer is ready for the tall order of succeeding Tom Brady.
“It definitely helped him to learn under the best and see what that looks like, but he’s the kind of young man, too, this is what he’s been waiting on. I’ll tell you, the moment won’t be too big for him. He’ll be up to the challenge, that’s what I expect,” Malzahn told ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss.
Stidham would be taking over for one of the sport’s all-time greats in just his second season. Malzahn thinks his former QB has the maturity to handle the situation.
“Even when he got here, before he played his first game, you could just kind of tell he was a mature young man. Like a gym rat, always at the complex trying to learn, study film. When he got drafted by the Patriots (last year), I thought it was a perfect spot for him system-wise — spreading the field. He’s so good with protections, changing protections, and scheme-wise everything that goes with it, and just the flexibility the scheme gives him. I think that really applies to his strength.”
“He’s a people person, too. He has the ability, right off the bat, to develop relationships. People rally around him,” Malzahn added. “When he first got here, he had spent one-on-one with the coaches, one-on-one time with the players. He just has that ability that people want to follow him.”
Malzahn pointed to another trait that will help Stidham in the NFL: showing up in big games.
“In 2017, he had an outstanding year. He played his best football in our biggest games. Of course, we beat our two rivals and went to the SEC championship game. Had a great year. The next year, our top two receivers tore their ACLs in the spring, so that was kind of tough on him. But he did a great job when he was here.”
Stidham saw limited action as a rookie, appearing in 3 regular-season games, throwing just 4 total passes.