Jarrett Stidham will be entering his second season with the New England Patriots, and appears to be the successor to Tom Brady as the starting quarterback. Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

 

New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick appeared on NFL Network Thursday night, commenting about the Patriots schedule and the team’s quarterback situation.

Asked about Jarrett Stidham’s potential readiness, Belichick essentially gave him the thumbs up.

“Stid worked really hard last year, was our backup quarterback the entire season. And, I know he’s working hard in the offseason,” Belichick told Rich Eisen. “He’s made a lot of progress in terms of understanding our offense, and understanding opponent defenses, like all players do from Year 1 to Year 2. I’m sure he’ll get out there and be ready to go, be prepared, compete hard, and we’ll see where it takes us.”

Belichick also indicated he didn’t plan any changes for the quarterback room, which currently holds Stidham, veteran Brian Hoyer, and two undrafted rookies, J’Mar Smith and Brian Lewerke.

“That’s where we are. You never know what’s going to happen down the road,” he said. “But we feel like we have four good players there. We added Brian and J’Mar to go along with Hoyer and Stidham … we like working with all those guys. We’ll see how it goes.”

In terms of the schedule, Belichick said when he first sees it, the Patriots get cracking on preparation for those teams.

“Anything we might need to install in training camp, make sure we have those ready for the early part of the season,” he said. “That’d be part of the conversation. And just refamiliarize ourselves for that.”

With the Dolphins up first, and the possibility of seeing either Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, the Patriots will be prepared for either the veteran or the rookie first-round pick.

“Again, I think the main point of training camp for us, is to make sure we know what we’re doing, and we’re ready to go,” he said. “So, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time, assuming preseason goes somewhat like it has in the past, we’ll have time to evaluate the preseason games, and have an idea what players will be facing on our early opponents.”

As for the Patriots survival in a post-Tom Brady world, Belichick didn’t seem too bothered by that proposition. He just pointed to the few times in the past, where the Patriots have managed to get by without him.

“We’ve played at other times without Tom, whether it was the ’09 season after he was injured, played 15 games with (Matt) Cassel and went 11-5, or heading into the ’16 season with Jimmy (Garoppolo) and Jacoby (Brissett), and Tom coming back after the four-game suspension,” said Belichick. “So there have been other times when we’ve dealt with that. We’ll do what we always do: Prepare the team as best we can. Utilize our players and the skills they have and put ourselves in the best position we can to be competitive and win. That’s what we always do. And we’ll continue to do that.”

Belichick’s dog, Nike, who became a social media sensation during the draft after sitting in the head coach’s chair when one Patriots pick was announced, couldn’t be seen during the interview. Nike, however, could be heard at one point barking. Belichick let viewers know he had taken his dog for a walk earlier, and that Nike was doing his homework.

Cracked Belichick: “He’s working on the supplemental draft in case anything comes up in July. We’ll be ready to go.”

THE PATRIOTS signed third-round draft pick Devin Asiasi on Friday, leaving the team with just three unsigned draft picks.

The tight end, taken with the 91st overall selection, agreed to his four-year rookie deal, a source confirmed.

The Patriots have also locked up linebackers Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings and Cassh Maluia, offensive linemen Justin Herron and Dustin Woodard, and kicker Justin Rohwasser. Second-round safety Kyle Dugger, third-round tight end Dalton Keene and fifth-round guard Michael Onwenu are the remaining unsigned players.

Asiasi was the first tight end taken by the Patriots before the fourth round in a decade, since Rob Gronkowski (second round) arrived in 2010. The UCLA product is primarily known for his pass-catching ability, but can also be an in-line blocker.

Asiasi stands at 6-foot-3, 257 pounds. He ran a 4.73 time in the 40-yard dash.

“He was a guy who could stretch the field vertically for us, but in this day and age, to get a point-of-attack block from a tight end, inline, that’s few and far between,” UCLA tight ends coach Derek Sage told the Herald recently. “I think that’s why you saw him get drafted so high as an underclassman.

“If you turn on his last four games, I’d put it up against anyone in the country in terms of an all-around, 50-50 tight end for the next level.”

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