Patriots' Bill Belichick 'Hasn't Made Any Plans' at QB After Cam Newton Benched

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2020

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

In the immediate aftermath of Monday's 38-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick didn't commit to Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham for the season finale.  

"I haven't made any plans for next week, obviously," Belichick told reporters. "Game is 15 minutes old."

Stidham came on to replace Newton in the third quarter, but Belichick said his decision wasn't an indictment of Newton's performance: "We weren't playing very well, and it was an opportunity to give [Stidham] a chance to play. Cam did a good job for us. That wasn't the problem. We just weren't very competitive in the game."

Newton ran for 24 yards and a touchdown but finished 5-of-10 through the air for 34 yards. Stidham wasn't much better, going 4-of-11 for 44 yards.

Suffice to say, the transition from Tom Brady has been a bit rocky for the franchise.

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By Belichick's own logic, starting Stidham might be the most sensible option for Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

New England has nothing to play for, and the team is assured of a losing season after suffering its ninth loss.

There's probably little Belichick and his staff can learn from watching one more game of Newton heading into the offseason. Stidham, on the other hand, has attempted 48 passes over his NFL career to date. His lifetime numbers aren't encouraging (270 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions), but it's worth giving him an extended look.

Should the Patriots go with Newton instead, it could easily be read as a commentary on the 2019 fourth-round pick. When New England needed a fill-in for Newton against the Kansas City Chiefs, Brian Hoyer got the nod. Stidham getting snubbed in a zero-stakes situation would raise some obvious questions.