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Bill Belichick leaves door open to start Jarrett Stidham over Cam Newton in Patriots’ final two games

With the Patriots officially out of contention for the playoffs, it might be time for Cam Newton to give way to Jarrett Stidham.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

With the Patriots officially eliminated from playoff contention, perhaps it’s time to give Jarrett Stidham an opportunity to start at quarterback.

The Patriots have two regular-season games remaining on their schedule, hosting the Buffalo Bills for “Monday Night Football” and then the New York Jets in the final week of the season. Asked generally about the possibility of using that time to get a longer look at some of the team’s younger players, Belichick seemed open to the idea.

“We can evaluate what the opportunities are,” Belichick said. “We’re still going to prepare and try to play as well as we can Monday night. But we’ll see how that all shakes out. It could be a possibility in certain situations.”


Asked specifically about Stidham playing, Belichick left the door open: “We’ll see.”

Belichick previously showed no interest in discussing the status of the quarterback position, electing to stick with starter Cam Newton because he said Newton gave the team the best opportunity to win.

Stidham has appeared in four games this season, twice to relieve Newton in blowout losses. Both Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have said those snaps were more of a function of circumstance and did not necessarily represent an evaluation period.

Who's going to get the bulk of the reps at quarterback the rest of the season?Steven Senne/Associated Press

The coaching staff has also reiterated multiple times that winning games is a higher priority than Stidham’s development.

Now that the 6-8 Patriots don’t have a playoff berth on the line, could things change? If not, why would Belichick continue to stick with Newton, who signed a one-year deal?

“Really, we have a lot of team questions we need to answer, so I think that will be the overriding thing,” Belichick said. “We’ll talk about that today, tomorrow. We’ll have an extra day this week and look at things starting from a bigger-picture standpoint.”

Belichick added that the team’s recent issues — poor run defense and inability to score touchdowns — are not about “any one individual.”


The Patriots will likely return to practice on Thursday, which will be the first indication of the team’s plans. Quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch said earlier this month that Stidham rarely takes reps with the starting offense during the practice, so, if the Patriots do plan to make a change at quarterback, that decision will likely have to be communicated well before Monday.

“We haven’t set any time frame on that,” Belichick said. “We’ll go through our normal weekly process and make the decisions that we feel are best for the game in everything.

Nicole Yang can be reached at nicole.yang@globe.com.