As soon as Jarrett Stidham took the field on Sunday and played well, even in a 45-0 blowout win and accumulated snaps during mop-up duty, Cam Newton had to know he’d get questions about his backup’s performance.
As has become standard, Newton was nothing but positive and supportive of his teammate.
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Newton’s Leadership Continues to Shine Through
Despite the fact that the two men competed for the same goal prior to the start of the season, and Newton is working like hell to hold off Stidham’s push to become the starter if the former falters, the 2015 NFL MVP is showing the best possible leadership qualities.
Here’s what Newton said to the hosts of WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show on Tuesday when asked about Stidham’s TD-scoring drive in the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ biggest win of the season.
I’m so proud of Stid, man. We had a chat in the QB room Monday. His growth and his development is something that really caught my attention. (Earlier) I don’t know if he’d have been able to stand in the pocket, a murky pocket, and throw an absolute strike to Gun Show (Gunner Olszewski). After the first play, he got hit and was down on the ground. For him to bounce back from that, just speaks volumes about growth. Just to see him grow is something I’m extremely pleased about.
Supporting Stidham’s Growth
As you may have seen during the live broadcast of the game, Newton was watching intently as Stidham drove the ball down the field against the reeling Chargers defense.
The CBS cameras kept showing Newton almost in anticipation of seeing some level of uncomfortability on his face. It didn’t happen. Instead, we saw this after Stidham fired a bullet to Gunner Olszewski for a 31-yard TD reception.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) December 7, 2020
The Bigger Picture
One thing that seems to often escape Newton’s detractors is his maturity. Many of them are blinded by his flashy outfits and hats, and they cannot (or refuse to) see beyond that vehicle of expression.
In that approach, they are missing what is really quite the fascinating and inspiring maturation and development of a young man who has grown up before the eyes of the country, and who now sees the bigger picture.
The relationships in the locker room with teammates and coaches are important. Newton seems to know that as long as he plays well and sticks to the gameplans drawn up by the coaching staff, he will remain the team’s starter. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want Stidham to succeed.
For all we know, Newton already knows he’ll play elsewhere in 2021, and that Stidham will likely be the man with the keys to the Patriots’ offense moving forward. It appears if that’s the case, he wishes him nothing but the best. For now, Newton’s assignment is to be prepared and to execute during games and to be a good teammate.
Through 12 games, a battle with COVID-19, and some ups and downs, he’s done a really good job of accomplishing those goals.