1. It was just a video conference with the New England media, but Friday was a big day for Jarrett Stidham. This was his first time speaking this offseason, which saw him as the likely starter all spring and then the team added Cam Newton in very late June. The second-year player said all the right things and showed he has the right mindset going into training camp. “Honestly, I was excited,” he said when asked for his reaction when hearing Newton was joining New England. “What a great opportunity to compete with another great player — compete with Hoy (Brian Hoyer) and Cam. I was actually really excited for the opportunity ahead.” And while if Newton, a former NFL MVP, proves he’s healthy the job is likely his, Stidham believes he has what it takes to be a starter in his second season. “Absolutely,” he said. “I think I am definitely ready. I put in a lot of work this offseason to really improve mentality, physically, in a lot of different areas. At the end of the day I am extremely excited to compete with Cam and Hoy as we go forward in training camp and getting to the season and things like that. I am really looking forward to the competition. I love competing in whatever it is. I am really looking forward to it.” In what was likely a tough few weeks for Stidham following the Newton signing, he seems to have the right attitude and is showing whenever his time comes, he will be ready.
2. Speaking of Newton, he gave a great first impression in his first meeting with the New England media since his signing. The former NFL MVP was very insightful in all his answers and was not just full of cliches and talking in generalities like is usually the case with the Patriots. It was hard not to think to Tom Brady and how the two are night and day when it comes to speaking with the media.
3. Bill Belichick continues to downplay no preseason games impacting things come the regular season. In his previous video conference he spoke to college teams doing it every year. Belichick also is taking some clues from the college game when it comes to holding virtual meetings. “Our coaches talked to, like I said, several other college coaches and programs, and then we exchanged ideas,” he said. “It was very educational for all of us to try to do that. Some activities worked better than others, and each coach kind of had to get a feel for his players, their level of excitement to do certain things might not have matched a similar concept or game or whatever it was. I’d say we modified our teaching and the interactions, some of the games, some of the competitions, things like that that we did over the course of the spring.”
4. New Patriots QB coach Jedd Fisch has a good back story to when he first was introduced to Belichick. “My mentor in this profession is a guy named Bill Roca who was a very successful high school coach in New Jersey. I was a ball boy there for years. Bill spoke at his clinic in 1983 when I was 7 years old,” Fisch said. “Bill came and spoke at a special teams clinic at West Essex High School in New Jersey. I've known of and obviously studied and watched everything Coach did for years, but I got to know him in 2011.” The two met on a professional level in 2011 when Fisch was the University of Miami’s offensive coordinator. It feels like there’s been mutual respect ever since and the Patriots have had their eye on him for awhile.
5. Following Marcus Cannon opting out, second-year player Yodny Cajuste suddenly becomes even more important at the right tackle spot. He spent all of last year on injured reserve, so what can be expected of him this year? “Yodny, like everyone else in this room, has bought fully into what the offseason was as far as the virtual meetings, and because of his situation and status was last year, he was able to do a lot of extra meetings virtually and really bought in to putting in the necessary work to get here now,” offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo said. “But like Cole (Popovich) said before, we’ve got a room full of guys who are getting back in there, getting back into the swing of things, getting the rust off so to speak a little bit, whatever their level was. We’re excited to work with them and give them as many looks as we can to get them ready for the fall.”
6. Like his brother Stephen has over the years, Brian Belichick was asked about having to deal with the expectations of his last name as he enters his first season as safeties coach. “I don’t really think about it,” he said. “I’ve been blessed with an amazing opportunity in my life to be around this organization. We moved here in 2000 and I’ve been amazingly fortunate to have my dad be here for 20 years and allow me to come spend time with the team and learn from these great players and coaches that have been here for a long time. I’m very lucky to have that experience. I just try to learn from them and apply things to my life and try not to think into the future. Expectations, I try not to think about that just better myself every day, every year and learn more things and put one foot in front of the other.” 7. The Patriots are currently at Gillette Stadium going through phases of workouts working their way towards full-padded practices, which will begin Aug. 17. In all likelihood, media will not be present at any of these until the full-padded practices. Video conferences with Belichick and players will continue on a regular basis, though.