So, let me see if I have this right: all offseason, after Tom Brady left for Tampa Bay, and the New England Patriots didn’t add anyone at quarterback other than mediocre journeyman Brian Hoyer — that the Dolphins beat the Colts in Indy last year tells you all you need to know about Hoyer — the press has been singing the praises of New England’s presumed starter at QB, Jarrett Stidham.
Stidham, they said, was one of the most NFL ready quarterbacks to come out of the college ranks in years, which is, of course, why he lasted into the fourth round of the 2019 draft. Stidham didn’t even throw three passes in an NFL game before one of them was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, but that didn’t stop Chris Simms from Pro Football Talk from ranking him ahead of the Dolphins’ quarterback of the future, Tua Tagovailoa. I like Chris Simms; like his father, Phil, he’s a class guy. Unfortunately, in their ravenous quest for more traffic, and the resulting ad revenue, the press often distorts the truth.
But if you thought the effusive praise being heaped on Stidham was a stretch, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The Patriots signed former league MVP and three time Pro Bowler Cam Newton this past week, and accordingly, the media has now charged off in a new direction, to try and portray New England as a bonafide Super Bowl contender. As you may have surmised by now, I obviously don’t share their enthusiasm. It says here that, just like last year, the Patriots won’t make it past the first round of the 2020 NFL playoffs. In fact, I think you could make a very strong case that Newton’s signing, when viewed through a wide angle, longer term lens, actually helps the Dolphins. While Cam Newton has been one of the greatest players in NFL history over the course of his career, he is little more than a stopgap player at this juncture, and New England has now been relegated to the fate of all but the top three or four NFL teams every year — trying to remain respectable and keeping themselves relevant. If New England wants to go all in on trying to reopen a window of opportunity that has already slammed shut, fine by me. That only means it will cause them to win a few extra games along the way, and make it that much harder to rebuild their foundation for future success.