What are We Supposed to Read Into Jarrett Stidham Running His 'Pats West' Camp?

A week ago I wrote about how Jarrett Stidham was organizing a "Pats West" minicamp of his own volition, blowing the conch shell to assemble his receivers, tight ends and even fellow quarterback for workouts at his place in Orange County, CA.

And since this isn't "The Junction Boys" but instead is 2021, instead of the guys sweating through full padded two-a-days under the broiling sun and being denied water to toughen them up, we get social media posts of helmetless guys in shorts running routes. In extreme close up. Set to music. 

All things considered, he got a pretty good turnout. With, as was expected ahead of time, Newton plus more than half the receivers and tight ends on the roster making the trek. 


And considering the fact they also had a pizza party afterwards and that Bill Belichick team-building staple of paintball, who wouldn't want to go? 

Though just to be fair, it should be pointed out that Stidham was a paintball enthusiast long before his head coach was brutally sniping his players on the field of paint battle.


All of which begs the question of what the endgame is for Stidham. Maybe a backup quarterback gathering his teammates unto him isn't unheard of. But I can honestly say I've never heard of it. Or if I did, I didn't retain the information. (Which is not unusual for me since the thumbdrive in my head is pretty much filled to capacity with movie quotes and Yacht Rock lyrics.) If I'm right, this is a bold move. One that can only be taken as Stidham stating his intentions that he's not ready to defer to Newton the way he did last year. That he can read the writing on the wall, because it was spray painted on by the graffiti artists on his coaching staff in massive block letters that say, "YOU SAT BEHIND BRIAN HOYER AND A GUY WHO HAD 5 TDS IN HIS FIRST 14 GAMES. IT'S PUT UP OR SHUT UP TIME." 

I refuse to be one of those people who are ready to declare Stidham a bust. Just because if you start tossing that epithet at 4th round developmental quarterbacks, what descriptive do you have left for the guys the Jets draft every three years? But it's hard to imagine he's going to survive in New England after this year if he doesn't gain his coaches' trust as a viable backup at the very least. 

But still. Trying to prove you deserve a roster spot as a capable emergency QB and running your own minicamp/pizza party/paintball outing are two very different things. It's possible he's been told the QB1 job is far from settled. Maybe they made it clear this is his last shot and they want to see a huge upgrade in his approach or he won't even make it to camp. Or perhaps he just got pissed off about never getting a shot last year even as Newton struggled to throw the ball and this is his way of putting everyone on notice that he's going to be less passive Matt Sarazen and more extroverted Smash Williams. 

We won't really have a solid idea of what this was all about and whether it did any good until OTAs at the earliest. But if anything, maybe it as least succeeded in making it so Stidham's new receivers learn his name. 

If so, call it the Pizza and Paintball Effect. And hope it works.