Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham took a beating against Buffalo on Monday. In seven dropbacks, Stidham was hit, sacked or pressured five times. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

 

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Jarrett Stidham has a specific job as the Patriots backup quarterback. Every week, it’s his role to get the Patriots’ starting defense ready for their opponent. That means studying the opponent’s offense and executing the opponents’ plays at practice.

On the surface, that seems like a tough way for a young quarterback to develop. It’s one reason why many want to see the 24-year-old quarterback start in the Patriots’ regular-season finale against the New York Jets.

This season, Stidham has appeared in five games, all coming in relief. He’s 22 of 44 for 256 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, including Monday night where Stidham went 4 for 11 for 44 yards in relief of starter Cam Newton.

Would Stidham play better if he got a chance to prepare as the starter? At this point, do the Patriots have anything to lose?

“I think everybody in the game of football wants to be playing every single week. Yeah, I would absolutely love to have that opportunity (to start), but that’s not in my control,” Stidham said. “I’m not going to focus on it. It’s not going to change the way I prepare. I prepare like I’m the starter even going back to last year. That’s how I’ve always prepared each and every week. That’s not going to change my mindset and I’m going to keep grinding and get better next week.”

After Monday’s game, Coach Bill Belichick wouldn’t comment on who’s starting at quarterback for the Patriots against the Jets in Week 17.

“Game was over about 10, 15 minutes ago, so… Haven’t made any plans for next week obviously being it’s 15 minutes old,” Belichick said.

Asked about the quarterback position Tuesday morning and if there was anything he wanted to say and simply replied “No. I don’t think so.”

Newton was also asked about Stidham and if he felt like he should start the final game of the season.

“I’m not going to get into no back and forth with nobody,” Newton said. “Like I said, my job is to be the best teammate I can possibly be, be the best player I can be for this team, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

Stidham came into Monday’s game against Buffalo at 8:20 of the third quarter to replace Newton. He played three series and the offense produced three first downs (one by penalty) and no points, and went three-and-out once. It wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.

Of course, the Pats were getting battered in every which way.

In Stidham’s first series, the offense started at the 5-yard line. A roughing-the-passer penalty moved the chains up and then Stidham hit Jakobi Meyers for 22 yards. That play represented the top passing play for the Patriots on the day.

“For me, at the end of the day, whatever opportunity I’m given, I want to try and make the most of it,” Stidham said. “Whether that’s in the third quarter, fourth quarter, whatever that is, I need to go out and make the most of it. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.”

In Stidham’s last two series, the pass protection was poor. In seven dropbacks, Stidham was hit, sacked or pressured five times. He had two clean pockets and completed two passes – one to Meyers for six yards and a 10-yard, third-down conversion to James White.

After the game, he was asked if he felt like he would perform better if he received starter reps in practice.

“For me, I take a lot of pride in understand our offense and knowing what we do,” Stidham said. “Knowing the intricacies of what we do, so whether or not I get (practice) reps or not, that’s out of my control and I can’t look at it as ‘I didn’t get enough reps’ or this or that. I don’t look at it like that. I look at it like I know how to execute this offense and I know what we’re trying to do.

“If I get that opportunity, I need to go in there and execute.”

LIKE CLOCKWORK, Josh McDaniels’ name seems to always come up in NFL head-coaching rumors each winter. And the Patriots offensive coordinator is certainly still interested if the right situation comes along.

McDaniels was asked Tuesday if he still had aspirations to be an NFL head coach again for a second stint, and he confirmed his interest.

“Absolutely,” McDaniels said. “Definitely want to do that. I’d love to have the opportunity if it presents itself.”

As is the case every year, there will be multiple vacancies this offseason. The Texans, Lions and Falcons have already fired their head coaches this season, and there are likely to be more.

The 44-year-old McDaniels hasn’t been a head coach since 2010 when he was fired during his second season with the Broncos. The Colts hired him to be their head coach in 2018, but he backed out of the job at the last minute to stay with the Patriots.

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