Is Ryan Mallett a starting quarterback?

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Like it or not, New England quarterbacks are never ones to stay out of the spotlight. Tom Brady is a bonafide mega-celebrity, rookie Jimmy Garoppolo made waves by being selected in the second round of this year’s draft and incumbent backup Ryan Mallett has been linked to a blockbuster deal for Texans All-Pro Andre Johnson. Out of all three, it seems as if Mallett has made the biggest splash in camp this week.

The Pats are down in Richmond practicing with Washington ahead of the two teams’ preseason tilt on Thursday. Since no one debates for even a millisecond that Brady should start, Garoppolo and Mallett have been under heavy scrutiny during training camp. Garoppolo’s high draft position had many wondering (myself included) if he would supplant Mallett as Brady’s main clipboard holder/backup. The rookie has struggled in practices thus far, and Mallett has been having his “best training camp ever” according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Globe.

NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock had this to say about the former Arkansas standout’s camp performance:

“I was blown away today. I saw a legitimate NFL starting quarterback today backing up Tom Brady[…]trust me, Ryan Mallett’s a starting quarterback in this league”

That sure is great news for a team who, despite most fans’ stalwart defense of Brady, could use some insurance behind their future Hall-of-Fame signal caller. Whether this “legitimate NFL starting quarterback” buzz is enough to keep Mallett firmly entrenched in the number two spot is difficult. Mallett is the poster boy for offseason trade rumors, so this also could help his stock rise further in the eyes of teams who may end up needing a safe bet at quarterback.

While this may still be discounted as offseason hype, it is refreshing to hear about solid quarterback play in New England coming from someone besides Brady. If all this gets Mallet signed with another team later in the season, it will be interesting to see if the Patriots are comfortable enough with Garoppolo to carry him and Brady into the 2014 season as the only quarterbacks on the roster. I hear Tim Tebow is open to an NFL reunion…

Follow Eric Pfalzgraf at @Eric_Pfalzgraf


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