The offseason trade to the Las Vegas Raiders was a pleasant surprise for Jarrett Stidham.
The former Auburn quarterback wasn't expecting a change of scenery going into the 2022 season. A few months ago, he and Mac Jones were the only two quarterbacks on the New England Patriots roster. After the Patriots re-signed Brian Hoyer and added Bailey Zappe to their roster, Stidham didn't think he would get traded, but knew he would have to compete like hell for a spot.
While not in New England, he's still competing for his spot. He was traded to what could be considered a perfect destination for him – reunited with a few people that gave him his first shot in the NFL.
"I was obviously thrilled that it was to here because I've been with Zig [Dave Ziegler] and Josh [McDaniels] and Mick [Lombardi] and Carm [Carmen Bricillo] and Bo [Hardegree], all those guys for the last couple years," Stidham said Monday. "I was happy to come here and be a part of this organization, for sure."
A little competition won't hurt Stidham, who has battled through quarterback competitions dating back to his Texas high school football days at Stephenville High School. The four-star recruit went on to have a successful college career in his stints at Baylor and Auburn, throwing for over 7,000 career passing yards and nearly 50 touchdowns.
"I wouldn't change a thing," Stidam said about his football journey. "I was very fortunate to grow up in a place like Stephenville where its blue collar, you just work really hard, usually we win a lot of games. Very fortunate to be from a place like that. Going into college, Baylor, Auburn, it's been a lot of fun. Then obviously playing the last three years in New England and now here, it's been a blessing."
A college career consisting of three winning seasons for two Power-5 programs led to the Patriots drafting Stidham in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft – while Josh McDaniels was still their offensive coordinator.
"I mean, any time you change teams and go somewhere where you're familiar with that, you can kind of skip a step or two," McDaniels said shortly after trading for Stidham in May. "And Jarrett is now coming into a place where he knows the terminology, which is a good thing. It doesn't mean that the performance is always going to be exactly what it needs to be, but it gives you a little bit of a leg up in terms of how quickly you can get to a point where you can function and do all those things.
"I think Jarett's done a tremendous job, too, of sharing, and that's always a big thing. He's very unselfish. He's a great human being and he's a great teammate."
Going into his fourth season, Stidham has battled numerous injuries while serving as a backup for Tom Brady and Mac Jones. He believes being back under McDaniels will be beneficial for his development as a quarterback, after missing the entirety of last season with a back injury.
"Josh is a huge film guy. I had to learn that coming into the league, three, four years ago, whatever it was," Stidham said. "It's a great teaching tool. Out there on the field, you try to see things and coach up. Even as players, we talk about things on the field as well, but once you're able to get in a room and sit there and talk about it and rewind and fast forward, and rewind and fast forward, you can kind of see other things that you may have missed out on the field.
"Being able to use those as teaching moments is huge – I know for my development, and I'm sure for others as well."
Stidham's career as a Raider got off on the right track last Thursday, as he started in the Hall of Fame Game. In the win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he finished with a team-high 96 passing yards and a highlight 12-yard house call on the ground.
According to Stidham, his first touchdown in Silver and Black was unraveled in an unpredictable, yet surprisingly simplistic fashion.
"Basically all 21 other guys were running to my left and I just ran right, and it's just kind of how it worked out. I was happy about it."