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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed Jul 24 - 02:01 AM | Thu Jul 25 - 10:25 AM

Patriots Unfiltered Q&A: Looking at the QB situation, trades, and more

This week's mailbag features fan questions about the quarterback competition between Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer, the evolution of the 'Patriot Way', trades and more.


When Belichick retires someday, will the organization attempt to continue the "Patriot Way" or it is really "BB's way"? Once Belichick is gone, will the Patriot Way be different?Stan C

It is an interesting question, Stan because Belichick has stated many times that he has never used the phrase the "Patriot Way." It seems this phrase was created over the last twenty years by fans, media members, television analysts to describe the way Belichick and the Patriots appear to operate. Once Belichick retires, I am sure the organization will look and feel different. It's only natural after one of the greatest departs, but if the winning continues, perhaps the term "Patriot Way," will morph into a meaning of unstoppable greatness. Megan O'Brien

What type of player or pick do you think we could get trading Rex Burkhead? –Gregorio Ladeira

The Patriots could likely get a late round draft pick for Rex Burkhead. He's a 29-year-old running back who has been productive, especially in crucial situations. However, Burkhead has had his fair share of injuries, and he's not a spring chicken anymore. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Patriots move on from Burkhead if they feel confident in Damien Harris. Megan O'Brien

If there are no fans in attendance at NFL games in 2020, could this be beneficial to Jarrett Stidham? He's already going to face intense scrutiny for being the guy who replaces Brady. With no crowds, he shouldn't have any issues with communications at the line of scrimmage. He won't hear any taunts or jeers at road games. Could this be a factor? Or has Self-Isolation sent me crazy. –Randy Hanson

That is a very positive spin to an NFL season without fans, Randy. You do bring up a good point. Without fans, home field advantage takes on a whole different meaning. Suddenly, there is a more even playing field when playing away from home. Places that are notoriously difficult to play in, like Seattle or Kansas City, will have a different environment without fans. For Stidham, that could alleviate some pressure and enhance communication. At the same time, it could impact players in a negative way. Some players are highly motivated by noise, chants, and boo's. I think it depends on the individual. It's also tough to remember a time when these professional players played in front of a small or no crowd at all. It will be interesting to see how each player responds if there are indeed no fans in 2020. Megan O'Brien

I have a feeling that the whole Brady/Gronkowski reunion was set up by Brady. I think Brady advised Gronkowski to take a year off (retire) and get to 100%. He would then get his new team to arrange a trade for Gronkowski so Brady could have his favorite receiver with him completely healthy. I'm sorry but this is no coincidence. Do you think this has any merit?Gregory Leonard

I am not sure we will ever know the answer to your question, Gregory. It is certainly possible that this scenario has some merit to it. I also want to highlight the fact that prior to Gronkowski's final season in a Patriots uniform, the Patriots tried to trade him to Detriot. It is clear that Belichick and the Patriots had moved on from the tight end. The fact that the Patriots were able to acquire a draft pick by trading Gronk is an added bonus. I know it doesn't sound that way because we are so accustomed to the greatness that was the Brady-Gronk duo, but it is time turn the page. I'm looking forward to seeing how Gronk looks one year out of retirement. Megan O'Brien

If Jarrett Stidham has a rough start in the season, do you see the Patriots starting Brian Lewerke or J'mar Smith in a certain situation? –Grishm Masson

If Stidham becomes the Patriots starter for the 2020 season and does not play well, the Patriots will likely turn to Brain Hoyer. There is a reason the team brought Hoyer back, and right now, there is a quarterback competition in Foxborough. It may not be as glamorous as other quarterback competitions around the league, but Stidham and Hoyer are certainly competing for the starting job. When it comes to Smith and Lewerke, those two are competing for spots on the practice squad. Megan O'Brien

The lack of homerun ability with the running game stood out to me last year. I found myself wondering if the running backs had been just a step or two faster, the Patriots offense could have posed a homerun threat. Overall, I think the Patriots running backs lack speed. With that said I was surprised Matt Breida was traded for just a 5th round pick. This off season, the Patriots didn't make a move for a running back. What are your thoughts on the state of the running back position group? –Austin Evans

Austin, you and Fred Kirsch should sit together for games. You two share a frustration with the lack of homerun ability from the backs. I hear what you are saying about Matt Breida. The price seems reasonable, and Breida is a solid running back. After watching Michel last season, we learned that he runs best with a lead back. With David Andrews back perhaps the line game will improve, and maybe Danny Vitale along with the rookie tight ends will help Michel by blocking. As a positive spin, maybe the Patriots decision to not go after a running back like Breida shows great confidence in Damien Harris. I am excited to see what the second year back is able to contribute. Megan O'Brien

I have heard a lot of people comparing Stidham to Brady. I don't think it's fair to compare a second year player to the greatest quarterback of all time. However, if we compare 2019 Brady to Stidham, in my opinion, that's reasonable. Brady was an average quarterback in the second half of 2019. If Stidham can be a similar version of what Brady was in 2019, the offense will be about the same. I think the Patriots can win 9 or 10 games and can qualifying for the playoffs in 2020.–Vincent Kaculini

There were moments in 2019 where Brady did look pretty average, but I don't want to underestimate his importance throughout the season. It certainly wasn't his best season, but a team with Brady at quarterback is better than a team with an inexperienced quarterback. As we have discussed, he did not have many weapons to work with, and it was clear he was frustrated with the state of the Patriots offense. If the offense looks the same as last year with Stidham at quarterback, I think that is a good sign for the Patriots. We also can't underestimate this year's schedule. It is far more difficult than the 2019 schedule, and with an improved AFC East, there aren't many games where you can pencil in a Patriots' win. If the Patriots are 8-8 and find themselves in the mix for the AFC East crown, I'd say Stidham did his job. Megan O'Brien

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