Weekly Mailbag: Backup QB battle, Easley’s knee, and what to expect from OTAs

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What can we hope to learn about this year’s rookie class during OTAs? There are so many question marks this year with the Pats drafting Easley and his knee problems in the first round then Garoppolo and his Division I-AA competition in the second. –Garrett from Bethlehem, PA

I’m tempted to say that we won’t learn a whole lot so don’t get your hopes up. The team will have 10 OTAs over the coming three week stretch for a maximum of six hours per day. That’s a good chunk of practice time, but there are no pads and no contact. For a guy like Dominique Easley, all the question marks surrounding him won’t be addressed until he starts hitting.

We might learn a bit more about Jimmy Garoppolo. Tom Brady and Kenbrell Thompkins started developing a rapport last season that was evident during OTAs, and that ended up translating to on-field success during the season. Garoppolo’s connection with his new receivers will be worth keeping an eye on.

Worst case scenario: Brady goes down in Week 1 and is out for the season, just like in 2008. Cassel was the obvious replacement that year, but now there isn’t one. I know it’s early, but who do you think would step in as the new starter: Mallett or Garoppolo? –Dave from Hyannis, MA

It is early, and we haven’t had the opportunity to see much of rookie QB Jimmy Garoppolo just yet. For that reason I think we would see Ryan Mallett run the offense in Brady’s absence. Having Tom Brady on the roster for so long has given the Patriots the opportunity to be patient with all their young quarterbacks, and I think we would see that trend continue here.

Let’s circle back on this one after a couple preseason games. Things could change awfully quickly.

Thanks to everyone for the emails. Tweet all your Patriots-related questions, comments, and stories to @cover32_NE or @TC_Howard. You can also email questions to tanner@cover32.com.

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