The New England Patriots starting quarterback job is all set, but the backup role and the future successor of Tom Brady is still very much up in the air. Fourth-year quarterback Ryan Mallett has been Brady’s back up the last three seasons and the team has drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of this year’s NFL draft. With Mallett’s struggles, many believe the job will eventually go to Garoppolo. Brady, however, believes in Mallett and feels he just needs an opportunity.
In an interview with the Dennis & Callahan morning show Monday, Brady talked about coach Bill Belichick’s decision not to play him in the first preseason game against the Washington Redskins and also took some time to talk about Mallett. In the team’s 23-6 loss, the entire offense struggled for most of the game. What stood out the most was Mallett’s ineffectiveness. He was 5-of-12 for just 55 yards in the fist start of his professional career. He was clearly outshined by Garoppolo, but Brady says not to worry.
“Ryan just needs an opportunity,” Brady said in the interview. “He hasn’t had a chance over the last few years to get in there and show what he can do. I’ve always loved working with Ryan and he’s got a great ability to be able to step in there and do the job and I think everybody’s got a lot of confidence that he can do it, he just hasn’t had the chance. You can’t judge anybody based on one half of the first preseason game. I think you have to look at the total body of work and that’s how coaches have always evaluated it.”
Brady is certainly a prime example. As a sixth-round draft choice he had to work hard and prove that he was an NFL starting quarterback. He kept himself prepared and when the opportunity presented itself, he not only stepped up to the challenge, and he conquered the challenge. If Ryan Mallett is to become a starting quarterback, he just has to build on his confidence and go out there and make the plays he is capable of making.
Mallett may also have an injury to overcome. According to a report by Mike Reiss of ESPN, the backup quarterback was not present for practice on Monday. It was the second straight day he missed. Mallett suffered a knee injury when he slid awkwardly during Thursday’s preseason opener.