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Patriots’ Jarrett Stidham ‘up to the challenge’ of replacing Tom Brady

After the Patriots or signing a big name in free agency, the path is clear for Jarrett Stidham to take over for Tom Brady.

According to his college coach, the 23-year-old Stidham will be ready for the daunting task.

“It definitely helped him to learn under the best and see what that looks like, but he’s the kind of young man, too, this is what he’s been waiting on. I’ll tell you, the moment won’t be too big for him. He’ll be up to the challenge, that’s what I expect,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn .

“Even when he got here, before he played his first game, you could just kind of tell he was a mature young man. Like a gym rat, always at the complex trying to learn, study film. When he got drafted by the Patriots [in 2019], I thought it was a perfect spot for him system-wise — spreading the field. He’s so good with protections, changing protections, and scheme-wise everything that goes with it, and just the flexibility the scheme gives him. I think that really applies to his strength.”

Bill Belichick appears to be willing to as the Patriots enter the season without Tom Brady for the first time since 1999.

Jarrett Stidham, Tom BradyIcon Sportswire via Getty Images

Stidham got into three games last season, but in the first one, after throwing an interception in garbage time against the Jets (Jamal Adams returned it for a pick-six), he was promptly replaced by Brady.

After Brady departed for the Buccaneers, the Patriots signed his former backup and 34-year-old Brian Hoyer to provide a veteran presence in the quarterbacks room. But they drafted 10 players last week, none of them quarterbacks, and saw free agent Andy Dalton while another established signal caller, Cam Newton, remains unsigned.

Stidham, meanwhile, has already begun to impress his teammates, with All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore and captain Devin McCourty among those who have expressed their faith in the 2019 fourth-round pick.

“He’s a people person, too. He has the ability, right off the bat, to develop relationships. People rally around him,” Malzahn said. “When he first got here, he had spent one-on-one with the coaches, one-on-one time with the players. He just has that ability that people want to follow him.

“In 2017, he had an outstanding year. He played his best football in our biggest games. Of course, we beat our two rivals and went to the SEC championship game. Had a great year. The next year, our top two receivers tore their ACLs in the spring, so that was kind of tough on him. But he did a great job when he was here.”

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