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Rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett learning on the fly

08.04.11 at 10:27 pm ET
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FOXBORO — For Ryan Mallett, one of the first realizations that he wasn’t in college anymore came when Bill Belichick popped him in the head with a blocking pad during a drill.

The practice technique, meant to try and distract the quarterback, has become routine this year — fellow quarterback Brian Hoyer was also hit by Belichick during the drill earlier in camp. Needless to say, it was a bit of a surprise for he third-round pick out of Arkansas.

“He’s gotten me a couple of times,” Mallett said with a laugh Thursday afternoon. “I was looking at the defense, though. Maybe it will help, maybe it won’t. You’d have to ask coach about it.

Ryan Mallett (right, No. 15) has spent much of his first training camp with an eye on starting quarterback Tom Brady. (AP)

“I’ve never had that happen before. I have the drill down now, though, so I think we’re going to do all right.”

Throughout the early stages of camp, Mallett has been on the field after almost every practice working with assistant coaches, with the primary focus being footwork. In one drill, the quarterback is tied to a bungee cord while he’s put through his paces.

“I’m working on my feet, just getting my feet right in the pocket, trying to escape the pocket and trying to make sure I stay on balance after I move and have to throw the ball,” he said. “It’s not about faster, it’s about moving my feet the right way. There’s a certain technique to it. It’s not just movement.”

Through his first week, Mallett has spent more time standing and watching as opposed to throwing, ceding playing time to Tom Brady and Hoyer. He understands the situation, however, and knows that when it comes to being a rookie in the NFL, it’s better to have your mouth closed and your ears open, especially when Brady’s in the vicinity.

“[Brady] has a great knowledge of the offense. Obviously, he’s been here for 12 years, so I try and listen and pick things up from him to get better personally,” he said. “[But] I don’t really worry about Tom. Tom is great player, but for me, right now, I’m developing my skills to get better.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady Print  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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