The Patriots added some quarterback depth to the roster this week when they signed veteran Cody Kessler. It was an interesting move considering at the end of training camp, the team opted to go with just two quarterbacks on their roster in Tom Brady and rookie Jarrett Stidham while parting ways with Brian Hoyer. The signing of Kessler came just days after Stidham made his NFL debut on Sunday against the Jets, a game in which Stidham threw a pick six.
There could be many reasons why Bill Belichick and company signed Kessler. Perhaps, the team thought Kessler running the scout team this week would help better prepare the Patriots for Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, or considering Brady’s limited status at practice on Wednesday, Kessler could give the team another arm to work with. Maybe playing the role of backup quarterback and scout team quarterback was too much for the rookie to handle. Of course, these are all speculations, but Kessler joining the team this week is certainly noteworthy and could impact Stidham’s role and responsibilities.
With just two quarterbacks on the roster, it meant it was likely Stidham had to play the role of backup quarterback while also running the scout team. For any rookie, there is an adjustment period to playing in the NFL, but for a quarterback there’s more to it.
"Being a rookie in the NFL is hard for every position. But yeah, there are a lot of demands on that one," Belichick said during his Friday press conference. "It is what it is. It's what you sign up for when you play quarterback. You take on a lot of responsibilities besides just playing your position, so there's play-calling, there's leadership, there's adjustments, there's knowing what everybody is doing, there's playing the situational football and so forth. That's all part of the position."
"As the backup you have to know what you’re doing on our offense," Stidham said on Friday. "As the scout team you have to be able to know what to do to give the defense a good look. I think you have to take it as it comes. You have to study as much as you can on both things and make sure you’re doing both really well. That’s the thing about being the backup, you have to take a lot of mental reps. Whenever Tom is in there, I have to stand back and act like I’m up there actually doing it. If it’s the read, or whatever it may be, I’m just trying to get as many mental reps as possible so that when I do get a chance to go out there it’s not all foreign to me."
If Kessler stays on the roster, perhaps it could lighten the load for the rookie quarterback on scout team and Stidham could focus solely on being the backup. There certainly is a chance that Kessler is here for the short term, but even if that’s the case, it gives the youngster another veteran to learn from.
"It’s been great to have Cody around," Stidham said. "He is a great dude. He obviously has a lot of experience in the NFL. Hearing his perspective on things is really unique. It’s been great to have him around."