The Patriots quarterbacks will have some massive shoes to fill this season. New England took a big hit this offseason when Tom Brady decided to move down to Tampa Bay. I will be breaking down each position group this month, starting with the quarterbacks.
Starting Quarterback: Jarrett Stidham
All eyes will be on Jarrett Stidham the second the Patriots are allowed to get back into the building. Stidham projects to be the starting quarterback, and Patriots fans should be on his side. If you want to know about Stidham’s unique path to the NFL you can click here. If you would rather focus on his ability as a player, I wrote a full film breakdown of Stidham’s game as well.
Backup Quarterback: Brian Hoyer
Brian Hoyer will be making his third stint as a Patriots quarterback. There is not much to say about Hoyer besides the fact that he knows the system, and Belichick clearly believes he is a perfect backup. It is possible that Hoyer opens the season as the starter while Stidham develops, but I highly doubt that considering he already had a year to sit behind the greatest of all time.
Third String Battle: Smith vs. Lewerke
Smith played quarterback for Louisiana Tech where he started for three seasons. In college Smith racked up 9,523 yards, 51 passing touchdowns and 21 interceptions. He also ran for 856 yards and 15 touchdowns. Smith had a solid senior year throwing for 2,977 yards, 18 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions.
Smith has an impressive highlight reel and traits that could translate in the NFL. He would have been a lot better at putting drives together if his receiving core could go a quarter without dropping a pass. Smith is able to make plays with his legs but is very comfortable staying in the pocket. He is definitely a raw prospect but has a chance to make the team if he can beat out Lewerke.
Lewerke played quarterback at Michigan State where he also started for three seasons. Hoyer will do anything he can to ensure Lewerke is comfortable in a Patriots uniform as they share the same Alma Mater — that does matter to these guys. Lewerke passed for 8,292 yards, 47 touchdowns and 32 interceptions. His mobility was very impressive, he was able to gain 1,255 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground in his college career. Of all the Patriots quarterbacks, Lewerke might actually be the most impressive runner. His accuracy downfield and in the red zone was good enough for Belichick to give him a chance.
Lewerke was a two-time captain that showed real promise but did not do enough in his final two seasons to make him a draft-able quarterback. In 2017, Lewerke did throw for 2,793 yards, 20 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions. Unfortunately, his touchdown to interception ratio has tanked since then. Brian Lewerke will need to develop in practice, but he is enough of a competitor to challenge J’Mar Smith to be the third-string signal caller.