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Ryan Mallett: ‘I feel a lot more confident in what I’m doing’

08.30.12 at 12:21 am ET
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Ryan Mallett - speaking after Wednesday's game - believes he's shown improvement this preseason. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The key question coming into camp for Ryan Mallett was just how much improvement could he show in the preseason.

After going 8-for-15 for 40 yards in seven possessions of the first half Wednesday night, the answer might still be up for debate.

“Not bad,” Mallett said after New England’s 6-3 loss to the Giants at MetLife Stadium. “There’s good things, bad things, stuff like that when we go look at the film, we’ll be like, ‘I could’ve done this better. I could’ve done that better.’ It’s just something you learn from.”

Learning wasn’t something he had a lot of opportunity to do a year ago. His preparation was shortened greatly by the lockout, limiting the number of live game reps he had.

“Last year, I didn’t really know too much, coming in late didn’t help,” Mallett said. “Having the spring and then the camp now was crucial for me, and I feel a lot more confident in what I’m doing.

“We’ve been practicing together for three or four weeks now. I wasn’t thinking about that. I just wanted to go out there and play.”

Mallett led the Patriots offense on it’s only scoring drive, leading them 51 yards in 12 plays during a four-minute, 58-second drive in the second quarter. Brandon Bolden finished it up by running three times into the line to set up Stephen Gostkowski‘s 20-yard field goal.

“As a quarterback, I don’t like the [term] game manager. You want to go out there and make plays when they present themselves. You don’t want to force anything but I don’t know about managing the game. You have to stay within yourself when you’re playing the game.

“It doesn’t change anything for me. I’m just going to go out there like I’m preparing to start every week and get the game plan down, get the opponent down, and keep moving along.”

With Wednesday night in the books and Friday’s two late TD passes at Tampa Bay, has Mallett shown enough to overtake Brian Hoyer as the No. 2 QB on the Patriots behind Tom Brady? Only head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels know for sure. But Mallett was the only Patriots quarterback not to get strip-sacked in the preseason. Brady was victimized twice and Hoyer was stripped late in the fourth quarter Wednesday, leading to the game-winning Giants field goal.

“It’s always good to get out there and play ball,” Mallett said. “Last year I didn’t get as many [preseason snaps]. It’s all right. I was young. I feel a lot more comfortable with the game, and the speed of the game now, and what I’m doing out there.”

What can he continue to work on?

“Everything,” Mallett answered without hesitation. “You’ve never arrived when you’re playing quarterback in this league. You need to get better every day, every little thing.”

Read More: Brian Hoyer, New England Patriots, New York Giants, nfl
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