Patriots center as of now has built up a bond with Jarrett Stidham
Jarrett Stidham didn’t play a lot and David Andrews didn’t play any for the New England Patriots in 2019. Both could play a great deal for the Patriots in 2020, however.
In his rookie season, Stidham served as Tom Brady’s backup at quarterback for the Patriots in 2019. After 20 seasons and six Super Bowl championships with New England, Brady left in March for a two-year, $50 million agreement with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Andrews had worked four seasons as the Patriots’ beginning center before he missed the 2019 campaign because of blood clots in his lungs. Andrews has been cleared to return in 2020, and he’ll step once more into the lineup. In the wake of filling in for Andrews last season, Ted Karras signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins in March.
Even though the Patriots’ offseason program has been led online because of the coronavirus pandemic, Andrews said he laid his basis for the conceivable change to Stidham at quarterback a year ago, and he hopes to see a superior QB when the team can get together once more.
“Jarrett is a great kid,” Andrews said during a video press conference. “I was still able, especially during the season at times, we would hang out a lot and stuff. Whatever quarterback is in that room, I try to build a bond with them, whether it’s Jimmy (Garoppolo), Brian (Hoyer), Danny Etling. Whoever is in there, you try to build a bond because it’s one play away from anyone playing. That’s just the way it is.
“I look back on my rookie year and can remember the growth I saw from my rookie season to my second year and how the games start to click a little bit and make sense a little bit more so that for all those players it’s just a natural thing coming from that first to the second year. Your first year is such a whirlwind. It’s such a long year from going from bowl games to training to (NFL Scouting) Combine to pro day to OTAs, minicamps, all that, to training camp. For a year, it’s non-stop. The growth from your first to your second year is so huge.”
After joining New England as a fourth-round draft choice from Auburn, Stidham won the reinforcement work from Hoyer, yet he played just 15 snaps in relief of Brady as a rookie.
“Tommy is who Tommy is,” Andrews said. “What a great experience it was to get to play with him. I’m appreciative of him and the friendship that we have. That was the longest quarterback I’ve ever played within any of the stages of my football career. It’s always a special bond and we will remain friends for life.”
The Patriots are conveying four quarterbacks on their offseason list. Notwithstanding Stidham, New England has Hoyer, an 11-year veteran with 38 career starts, and two undrafted rookies – Brian Lewerke from Michigan State and J’Mar Smith from Louisiana Tech.
“I’m pretty fortunate,” Andrews said. “I’ve worked plenty with Brian Hoyer. I’ve had a lot of experience with Brian. He’s been around for a while. And then I went all last spring with Jarrett Stidham and six weeks of training camp, or whatever I made it in training camp, to work with him at times. There’s always a new challenge in the NFL.”
Stidham has organized informal throwing sessions with Patriots collectors and running backs during the COVID-19 emergency, ESPN detailed. Without a center present, Hoyer and Stidham have alternated snapping the football to one another.
Andrews is anticipating when the limitations are lifted, practice for the 2020 season can begin and he will be over the football for the drills.
“I’m ecstatic for when we can get back, being with the guys in whatever way we can,” Andrews said. “That’s always fun. By the end of the season, everyone is kind of sick of each other and everyone needs a break. And then it’s kind of like the first day of school, that offseason program. It’s so great to see everyone. You’ve missed everyone. You’re refreshed. Excited to get back to it and be a team.”