The New England Patriots have yet to officially anoint Jarrett Stidham as the heir to the throne vacated by Tom Brady, who signed a two-year deal worth $50 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Patriots did not select a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft and as of now, haven’t signed a signal-caller from the free-agent pool. Various reports have connected the Patriots to 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton, but the team doesn’t look interested in bringing him in. Earlier, former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich, per a report by Justin Leger of NBC Sports, declared that the team would start veteran Brian Hoyer under center over Stidham when they begin their campaign without Brady for the first time in 20 seasons.

In the absence of a minicamp and training camp due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Ninkovich said that the Patriots might opt to rely on a veteran signal-caller rather than an inexperienced second-year player in Stidham. “Look, when you’re a second-year player, you really don’t realize what a season’s like as a starter,” said Ninkovich.

Patriots to test Stidham’s mental toughness

Michael Giardi of NFL Network, a known Patriots insider, has another take on the team quarterback situation. In a report by Adam London of New England Sports Network (NESN), Giardi said the starting job is for Stidham to lose, but he expects head coach Bill Belichick to make it difficult for him by having him compete with Hoyer for the honor of taking over Brady’s spot.

“They will stress him in meetings, they will stress him once they get back on the field. Make things as difficult as possible for him and see how he reacts,” Giardi said Tuesday on “NFL Total Access.” Giardi said the Patriots coaching staff will throw everything in the playbook at Stidham to test if he can mentally handle the pressure.

As a veteran, Giardi said the Patriots are confident that Hoyer can withstand the pressure of starting in case Stidham is not ready.

Brady to succeed with Buccaneers

With Brady out of New England, the most anticipated question now is who will succeed in the upcoming season -- him or Belichick. In a report by London, Colin Cowherd, host of “The Herd”, said he didn’t expect the Patriots to hoist the Lombardi trophy, but he believes that Brady will succeed with his new team.

According to Cowherd, Brady has many weapons with the Buccaneers and he has reunited with his favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski. Add in the warm weather and a fun coach in Bruce Arians, Cowherd said Brady will go a long way compared to the Patriots. Earlier, veteran safety Devin McCourty declared that it’s not the end of the world for the Patriots with the departure of Brady.