2020 Pats: Cam Can't Cook

Mystic Merlin

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I think coming into this season we had 2 scenarios:

1) Cam plays well, Patriots make the playoffs, but then unfortunately, the Patriots were unlikely to pay him FA QB so he'd be a one-and-done and we still wouldn't know what we have in Stidham (maybe the coaching staff already knows, but I find that hard to understand)

2) Cam doesn't play well, is replaced by Stidham, and we find out what we have in Stidham before next season.

At this point, it's hard to see the Patriots making the playoffs - and even if they did, Cam doesn't look good enough to lead them out of the first round. I shudder at scenario #3 - which is mediocre Cam blocking Stidham all season, leaving, and then we have another offseason of not knowing what the Patriots should do at QB.
If Cam plays mediocre football and doesn’t lose the job to Stidham, then that’s a pretty good sign the coaching staff doesn’t think Stidham is good enough/isn’t the guy they can ride with.
 

Van Everyman

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I don’t think it means much to be honest.

Cam looks terrible right now obviously. But he has a high ceiling and a skill set that compensates for the lack of offensive weapons. At his worst, the offense looks awful – like, all time bad. But at his best, they can be a dynamic and somewhat unpredictable offense. That’s why Bill is going to give him a longer leash.

I’m less wedded to the idea that they need to make the playoffs and kind of interested in seeing how it plays out to be honest.
 

NomarsFool

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If Cam plays mediocre football and doesn’t lose the job to Stidham, then that’s a pretty good sign the coaching staff doesn’t think Stidham is good enough/isn’t the guy they can ride with.
I struggle with this, though. If they believe Stidham is so bad, what the heck were they thinking going into this season with him as the starter (up until they signed Cam)?
 

lexrageorge

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I struggle with this, though. If they believe Stidham is so bad, what the heck were they thinking going into this season with him as the starter (up until they signed Cam)?
I'm not sure they did believe Stidham was so bad. It's obvious they truly had higher hopes for him; he won the backup job as a rookie, a lot of anonymous quotes indicated that the coaching staff had a high opinion of him, and was slated to be the #1. Then he struggled with injury and ineffectiveness during training camp while Cam shined early on. I'm not sure how they feel about Stidham now, but there's not much that can be done at this stage of the season.
 

BaseballJones

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Cam looks so bad. I have to imagine that BB is going to give him another week or two at most before turning the page on 2020 and rolling with Stidham. Signing Cam was absolutely worth the risk - we saw what he is capable of when he's at his best, and it's electrifying. But...injuries and cover and bad mechanics coming back to bite him, and the Cam we have NOW isn't nearly good enough to keep this team in the playoff race. So it would make sense if he doesn't bounce back to turn it over to Stidham and see what they have in him. They will need as much information as they can possibly get moving forward as they plan for 2021.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Put me in the camp of "Stidham probably just isn't very good." If he was clearly better than Cam, he'd be starting, period - we know that much about BB. And even taking out last week's shitshow, Cam overall has been, at most, ok but not great. Which means Stidham is worse than an ok but not great QB. Which may be fine for a backup but as the QB of the future? Seems very unlikely. At best, he's a placeholder for the next year or two until we hit on someone in the draft.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Stidham's only playing time has been 27 passing attempts spread out over 5 games where he got fairly limited playing time. It's entirely likely it's still far too early to make a judgement on his future ceiling.

I think a lot of this season has been the assumption that Cam is better WHEN HEALTHY. The state of Cam's current health is very much up in the air; he has been awful since contracting COVID.
 

Harry Hooper

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Cam also was expected to take better care of the ball than an inexperienced QB like Stidham, and this year's edition of the Pats really has to minimize turnovers on offense. That was the expectation going in, but...
 

Super Nomario

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Cam also was expected to take better care of the ball than an inexperienced QB like Stidham, and this year's edition of the Pats really has to minimize turnovers on offense. That was the expectation going in, but...
Well Stidham has thrown picks on ~15% of his NFL passes so far, so better than him is a pretty low bar ...
 

Harry Hooper

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Well Stidham has thrown picks on ~15% of his NFL passes so far, so better than him is a pretty low bar ...

Indeed, though if Cam keeps locking on receivers and being very slow to deliver the ball, he may not clear it.
 

Captaincoop

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Stidham's only playing time has been 27 passing attempts spread out over 5 games where he got fairly limited playing time. It's entirely likely it's still far too early to make a judgement on his future ceiling.

I think a lot of this season has been the assumption that Cam is better WHEN HEALTHY. The state of Cam's current health is very much up in the air; he has been awful since contracting COVID.
There is zero evidence of any kind to suggest that Covid has anything to do with Cam sucking. He sucked the week before he got Covid, too. He's thrown the ball well for one half so far this season.
 

Super Nomario

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I believe if they went all-in on Stidham they would simplify the offense and limit his mistakes like they did with Brady until the 2004 season.
Pre-2004 Brady has become underrated by what he did afterwards. I don't think this is as trivial a problem as you are making it sound. It would be remarkable if Stidham is even remotely close to what even early Brady was as a quarterback.
 

BaseballJones

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Pre-2004 Brady has become underrated by what he did afterwards. I don't think this is as trivial a problem as you are making it sound. It would be remarkable if Stidham is even remotely close to what even early Brady was as a quarterback.
I agree with @FL4WL3SS that they'd simplify things for Stidham. I agree with you that he wouldn't come close to approximating even early career Brady, who was criminally underrated for how good he was even then.
 

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Stidham has started 0 games. He's likely gotten very few snaps with the first team O. He's been brought into games where chucking it up for big risks was all he was asked to do. Citing his interception rate is pretty silly.
 

FL4WL3SS

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Pre-2004 Brady has become underrated by what he did afterwards. I don't think this is as trivial a problem as you are making it sound. It would be remarkable if Stidham is even remotely close to what even early Brady was as a quarterback.
Well no kidding. I'm just saying that Stidham has stepped into an offense in both seasons that hasn't been tailored to him. If BB went all-in on him, I'm sure the offense would look much different and he would be put in a better position to succeed.

He's not Brady, that's obvious.
 

DourDoerr

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I’m giving Stidham a long leash for the foreseeable future, especially with these receivers. He needs reps. Physically he seems to have the tools but I’d guess the game is moving way too fast for him at this stage. If Cam cant bring it - soon - I’d much rather spend a lost season seeing if there are any signs we may have something in Stid.
 

NomarsFool

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I could be wrong, but to me, the likelihood of Cam coming back next seasons seems close to zero. I was all for Cam being the starter if that would mean a trip to the playoffs. That isn't happening, so I see little value in running Cam back out there (unless it's to showcase him for trade purposes :)
 

rodderick

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Pre-2004 Brady has become underrated by what he did afterwards. I don't think this is as trivial a problem as you are making it sound. It would be remarkable if Stidham is even remotely close to what even early Brady was as a quarterback.
Do we even have any indication Brady ran a "simplified" offense pre-2004? Not dropping back 45 times to sling the ball all over the field doesn't necessarily indicate a scaled back offense. Also, Brady led the league in TDs in 2002, I agree the whole "game manager" thing has always been vastly overrated.
 

tims4wins

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Do we even have any indication Brady ran a "simplified" offense pre-2004? Not dropping back 45 times to sling the ball all over the field doesn't necessarily indicate a scaled back offense. Also, Brady led the league in TDs in 2002, I agree the whole "game manager" thing has always been vastly overrated.
In the 2002 opener didn't he pass on like 20 straight plays on one point? They came out shotgun and threw a crap ton. He was definitely a game manager in 2001 but even as early as 2002 he was slinging it.
 

BaseballJones

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You can run a simplified offense and still throw a lot. One thing (as far as I understand it) that makes NE's offense so complicated is the number of option routes they expect players to run. It's "simple" for a receiver to know that he runs seven yards and cuts to the sideline. That's the route, and he's expected to run it precisely.

It's much more complex for a receiver to line up, be able to recognize the coverage being played, discerning who is blitzing, and what leverage his defender is playing, so he suddenly has multiple decisions to make. Does he change his route based on what he sees? Does he cut out or in, depending on the leverage and where he expects the help to come from?

And all that needs to fall in perfect alignment with what the QB sees, or it's going to produce a horrible result if they're not seeing it exactly the same.

You can throw a lot using the first system. You can also throw less using the second system. But the second system is much more complicated than the first.

I don't know how much simpler things were for the Pats in, say, 2002, than they ended up becoming, if at all. But throwing a lot isn't the same as running a complex offense.
 

tims4wins

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You can run a simplified offense and still throw a lot. One thing (as far as I understand it) that makes NE's offense so complicated is the number of option routes they expect players to run. It's "simple" for a receiver to know that he runs seven yards and cuts to the sideline. That's the route, and he's expected to run it precisely.

It's much more complex for a receiver to line up, be able to recognize the coverage being played, discerning who is blitzing, and what leverage his defender is playing, so he suddenly has multiple decisions to make. Does he change his route based on what he sees? Does he cut out or in, depending on the leverage and where he expects the help to come from?

And all that needs to fall in perfect alignment with what the QB sees, or it's going to produce a horrible result if they're not seeing it exactly the same.

You can throw a lot using the first system. You can also throw less using the second system. But the second system is much more complicated than the first.

I don't know how much simpler things were for the Pats in, say, 2002, than they ended up becoming, if at all. But throwing a lot isn't the same as running a complex offense.
I don't disagree with anything you wrote - they threw it over 50 times in the Snow Bowl with a simple offense. That was more out of necessity. But I remember the 2002 opener being different. They were much more willing to throw the ball.
 

rodderick

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You can run a simplified offense and still throw a lot. One thing (as far as I understand it) that makes NE's offense so complicated is the number of option routes they expect players to run. It's "simple" for a receiver to know that he runs seven yards and cuts to the sideline. That's the route, and he's expected to run it precisely.

It's much more complex for a receiver to line up, be able to recognize the coverage being played, discerning who is blitzing, and what leverage his defender is playing, so he suddenly has multiple decisions to make. Does he change his route based on what he sees? Does he cut out or in, depending on the leverage and where he expects the help to come from?

And all that needs to fall in perfect alignment with what the QB sees, or it's going to produce a horrible result if they're not seeing it exactly the same.

You can throw a lot using the first system. You can also throw less using the second system. But the second system is much more complicated than the first.

I don't know how much simpler things were for the Pats in, say, 2002, than they ended up becoming, if at all. But throwing a lot isn't the same as running a complex offense.
You're 100% right. I think the best thing they could do to help Stidham (or any other young QB/newcomer for that matter) would be to have talent on the field that could win on skill, so they could still get easy completions that aren't completely scheme based. If they don't revamp the receivers before drafting Brady's heir, I think the evaluation process will be completely screwed up, and it's not really all that different with Stidham.
 

Super Nomario

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You can run a simplified offense and still throw a lot. One thing (as far as I understand it) that makes NE's offense so complicated is the number of option routes they expect players to run. It's "simple" for a receiver to know that he runs seven yards and cuts to the sideline. That's the route, and he's expected to run it precisely.

It's much more complex for a receiver to line up, be able to recognize the coverage being played, discerning who is blitzing, and what leverage his defender is playing, so he suddenly has multiple decisions to make. Does he change his route based on what he sees? Does he cut out or in, depending on the leverage and where he expects the help to come from?

And all that needs to fall in perfect alignment with what the QB sees, or it's going to produce a horrible result if they're not seeing it exactly the same.

You can throw a lot using the first system. You can also throw less using the second system. But the second system is much more complicated than the first.

I don't know how much simpler things were for the Pats in, say, 2002, than they ended up becoming, if at all. But throwing a lot isn't the same as running a complex offense.
Nothing you wrote is wrong, but the first system isn't really viable in the NFL in 2020. Every team is running sight adjustments, options, and conversions. Doug Farrar wrote a piece in 2012 (2012!) where he got a quote from the Seahawks receivers coach - the Seahawks, who famously were running a simple O - who said, "Most everything we do has an option to it. There are very few routes that are what we call 'run-it' routes -- those are routes that stay on, no matter what. Usually, you have a 'conversion' of some kind."

I think it's also important to note that these conversions exist for a reason. If you run a post into middle-of-the-field closed, there's gonna be a safety there. Conversions are designed to get guys open by running routes away from defenders. Taking that away isn't necessarily going to help a receiving corps that isn't the best at getting open.
 

BaseballJones

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Not just about Cam, but the Pats' offense as a whole. Under Brady, they were always one of the best teams at taking care of the football. For example, since 2014:

2014: #1 (13 giveaways)
2015: #1 (14 giveaways)
2016: #1 (11 giveaways)
2017: #2 (12 giveaways)
2018: #7 (18 giveaways)
2019: #3 (15 giveaways)

But then in 2020....

2020: #30 (14 giveaways in just 6 games)

First three games:
vs Mia: 1 turnover, 21 points (W)
at Sea: 1 turnover, 30 points (L, but came within a yard of winning)
vs LV: 1 turnover, 36 points (W)
AVG: 1.0 turnovers, 29.0 points (2-1)

Last three games:
at KC: 4 turnovers, 10 points (L)
vs Den: 3 turnovers, 12 points (L)
vs SF: 4 turnovers, 6 points (L)
AVG: 3.7 turnovers, 9.3 points (0-3)

Look, we knew that Cam is more turnover prone than Brady. But this is staggering. (And it's not just Cam - it's Hoyer and others) It's basically impossible to win in the NFL when you're committing 4 turnovers a game. No matter the opponent.

at KC
- Hoyer INT at the end of the first quarter - didn't hurt because NE got a turnover right back
- Hoyer fumble at the KC 10 - killer...cost NE points
- Stidham INT at the NE 25 - pick six directly led to 7 points for KC
- Stidham INT at the KC goal line - NE had the chance to score points on that drive

vs Den
- Cam INT at NE 34 - cost NE three points on a Den FG
- Izzo fumble at Den 40 - potentially cost NE points, and Den ended up getting a FG
- Cam INT at NE 39 - didn't cost NE any points as Den punted right away, but it cost 17 yards of field position

vs SF
- Cam INT at NE 41 in 2nd Q - SF scored a TD shortly after
- Cam INT at SF 4 near the end of the 1st half- didn't cost any points
- Cam INT at SF 34 - cost NE points, and led to a SF FG
- Stidham INT at SF 18 - cost NE points

So a few turnovers didn't end up killing them, but they all impacted field position at a minimum, and most of them either led (directly or indirectly) to opposing points, and/or cost NE points of their own.
 

axx

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I’m giving Stidham a long leash for the foreseeable future, especially with these receivers. He needs reps. Physically he seems to have the tools but I’d guess the game is moving way too fast for him at this stage. If Cam cant bring it - soon - I’d much rather spend a lost season seeing if there are any signs we may have something in Stid.
I think the Patriots have given up on Stidham. Might be looking at them taking a QB in the first round.
 

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I could take these interceptions if they were moving the ball and scoring points. They are doing neither. If Cam can't do it this week, they have to dump him and ride Stidham. Plus when does McDaniels start feeling some heat? They are anemic.
 

DourDoerr

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I think the Patriots have given up on Stidham. Might be looking at them taking a QB in the first round.
Are there any indications they're doing this? I've only heard rumors that he might not be doing the prep work, but who knows if that's just gossip, etc.? Based on the apparent plan deep into the offseason, they seemed ready to start the season with Hoyer and Stidham, so my assumption was they valued Stidham. Everything broke right on Cam, so they couldn't look that gift horse in the mouth. In any case, I do hope they keep drafting QB's as there's nothing worse in the NFL than watching your team while it's saddled with bad quarterbacking. A Mahomes at #10 would be nice.
 

E5 Yaz

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Next season's starting quarterback?

Ryan Fitzpatrick
 

BaseballJones

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Next season's starting quarterback?

Ryan Fitzpatrick
That would be completely insane.

And yet...

Not completely insane.

2018-2020 Fitzpatrick: 64.9%, 7.9 y/a, 47 td, 32 int, 91.4 rating

He's not the worst guy you could have back there, especially as a stopgap for a year to groom the next guy. His last 5 games this year, which led to him being replaced by Tua: 70.7%, 1,344 yds, 8.1 y/a, 10 td, 4 int, 104.5 rating, 3-2 record.

I mean...that's not bad at all.
 

Captaincoop

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That would be completely insane.

And yet...

Not completely insane.

2018-2020 Fitzpatrick: 64.9%, 7.9 y/a, 47 td, 32 int, 91.4 rating

He's not the worst guy you could have back there, especially as a stopgap for a year to groom the next guy. His last 5 games this year, which led to him being replaced by Tua: 70.7%, 1,344 yds, 8.1 y/a, 10 td, 4 int, 104.5 rating, 3-2 record.

I mean...that's not bad at all.
That idea is both better and more likely than Stidham being the starter next year.

Still not good...
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I'm not gonna dig back into the threads, but when they signed Cam, I was definitely on the board of "let's just see what we have in Stidham"; when we did all the "prediction threads" I think I said 7-8 wins. This is basically what I was expecting so, I'd rather they dump Cam, ride Stidham and see what we have in him.
 

axx

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Except the cap is going to be $25M less next year and it would hard to project what the cap will be beyond 2021 without a new TV deal.
 
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Leather

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In the 2002 opener didn't he pass on like 20 straight plays on one point? They came out shotgun and threw a crap ton. He was definitely a game manager in 2001 but even as early as 2002 he was slinging it.
Yup. I distinctly recall attending the first Jets game (week 2?) at NYJ and by the end of that game even Jets fans were conceding that he wasn’t doing it with smoke and mirrors.
 

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Yup. I distinctly recall attending the first Jets game (week 2?) at NYJ and by the end of that game even Jets fans were conceding that he wasn’t doing it with smoke and mirrors.
Box score confirms you are correct. Week 2, 44-7 Pats.

Brady didn't actually have a great day (25-39, 269, 2 TD, 1 INT) but for a game they won 44-7 they had 39 pass attempts and 40 rushes. In 2001 with that kind of a lead it would have been far fewer passes. Their 3 big wins that year:

Week 3 44-13 over Indy: 13 passes / 39 rushes
Week 6 38-17 at Indy: 21 passes / 30 rushes
Week 17 38-6 at Carolina: 29 passes / 36 rushes

In 2001, excluding the first Jets game (10 attempts in relief of Drew), he threw 403 times in 14 games (28.8 per game).

In 2002, he threw 601 times in 16 games (37.5). That's a 30% jump. It was a different offense. And you can't really argue that the running game was better in 2001 to help him - 3.79 YPC as a team in 2001 vs. 3.82 YPC in 2002.
 

YTF

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At this point is there any reason for the Pats not to be in serious trade discussions with Dallas? That division is totally up for grabs and Dallas might pay up slightly more than someone else. Ideally an NFC rival of the Cowboys suddenly finds themselves in the same QB situation after today.
 

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At this point is there any reason for the Pats not to be in serious trade discussions with Dallas? That division is totally up for grabs and Dallas might pay up slightly more than someone else. Ideally an NFC rival of the Cowboys suddenly finds themselves in the same QB situation after today.
Well, concussions are unpredictable, but it's conceivable that Dalton could be back next week and I think they'd rather have Dalton than Cam. When your receiving corp is CeeDee, Gallup, and Amari Cooper bringing on board Cam- who has to put the entirety of his body weight behind a pass just to get it 10 yards downfield- isn't an enticing option. Dalton has at least been with the team since the off-season and can actually push a ball downfield.
 

YTF

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Well, concussions are unpredictable, but it's conceivable that Dalton could be back next week and I think they'd rather have Dalton than Cam. When your receiving corp is CeeDee, Gallup, and Amari Cooper bringing on board Cam- who has to put the entirety of his body weight behind a pass just to get it 10 yards downfield- isn't an enticing option. Dalton has at least been with the team since the off-season and can actually push a ball downfield.
But would JJ want to take that chance when the trade deadline is before next week? And if Dalton does come back does he have lingering affects? Perhaps there is a better deal out there for them, but regardless as to who they bring in, they will have to learn a new system. Newton at least is a veteran presence with playoff experience and comes cheap from a salary standpoint. I don't have the answers, but this seems like a decent option for Dallas. Then again, Ryan Fitzpatrick may have become expendable today.
 

NomarsFool

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I'd be all for selling anything that isn't bolted down at this point. I think there's little chance Cam is back next season, and this season is toast. Let's trade Thuney, Cam, White, and Gilmore. I don't think Jules has any trade value due to the injury, unfortunately.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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At this point is there any reason for the Pats not to be in serious trade discussions with Dallas? That division is totally up for grabs and Dallas might pay up slightly more than someone else. Ideally an NFC rival of the Cowboys suddenly finds themselves in the same QB situation after today.
Because Dallas had no interest in him as a FA, so why would they have interest in him after 5 shitty games?