Josh McDaniels doesn’t need to see Jarrett Stidham start to know where he stands.
Though the Patriots have nothing to play for in the standings the next two weeks and Cam Newton’s contract expires at season’s end, Bill Belichick hasn’t been compelled to start the second-year quarterback, offering a couple terse exchanges on the topic.
“That’s coach’s decision and I honor whatever he makes in terms of those choices. We work as hard as we can to get everybody ready to go. I’ve seen plenty of Jarrett in practice. I see him every day. I’ve seen him for two years. I’m confident that I understand where Jarrett is at in his development,” McDaniels said on a Saturday afternoon video conference. “But I also know that our job is to try to go out there and win two football games that we have left. So that starts with Buffalo Monday night. Cam’s done a great job of preparing this week.
“Those choices are Bill’s. Whatever he chooses, that’s what we’re going to do, and I feel confident going in with the plan that we have right now.”
Speaking more broadly about young quarterbacks, McDaniels explained that real game situations aren’t the only way that coaches see growth.
“To me, it’s great to say ‘well put him in there and that’ll be the quickest way to improve him,’” McDaniels said. “But to me, every opportunity is an opportunity to improve: An individual period, a group period, a 7-on-7 period, a post-practice period, a preseason game, a regular season game. Whatever it is, you have an opportunity to get better if you approach it the right way. So that’s what we try to encourage our guys to do and that’s what we try to do as coaches as well.”