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Bill Belichick: Ryan Mallett will ‘get a lot of playing time this year in preseason’

08.06.14 at 7:43 am ET
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RICHMOND, Va. — When the Patriots open up their 2014 preseason in Landover Thursday night, expect to see a lot of Ryan Mallett after Tom Brady finishes his work in the first half.

Bill Belichick said the much-talked about back-up quarterback will get his chance to shine in the preseason, a role he has grown accustomed to in his first three seasons in New England, simply because the quarterback ahead of him almost never misses a regular season snap.

Belichick insisted Tuesday that, despite ups and downs in accuracy in training camp so far, Mallett has shown improvement and development. That development has made experts like the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock come out and declare that Mallett has been “popping” in practice and is a bonafide NFL starting quarterback.

“I think Ryan has been solid for us all year,” Belichick said. “He had a good, I thought he got off to a decent start in the spring and then he missed the last week, the last three or four practices, whatever it was, but that really hasn’€™t affected him now. He’€™s come back and done everything, done very well. Like everybody out there every player, some plays are better than others.”

As WEEI.com’s Chris Price writes, Mallett is entering the most crucial phase of his young career as he tries to convince other general managers that he is worthy of consideration, should the Patriots deem him expendable.

“Ryan has good poise in the huddle, good presence on the field, handles the team well and absolutely knows the offense from A to Z and can make the adjustments and whatever changes, communications, checks, we need to make,” Belichick said. “He’€™s shown good ability to do that, he has a lot of physical talent. He’€™ll get an opportunity to ‘€“ he really hasn’€™t had an opportunity to play in a regular season game in three years so he’€™ll get a lot of playing time this year in preseason and hopefully continue to improve.”

Here are some other takeaways from Belichick regarding Thursday’s game in Washington, based on the joint practices this week in Richmond.

“I’€™d say the big thing would be the situations,” Belichick said of the benefit of joint practices. “We worked against the Redskins on kind of basic situations yesterday: first, second, third down. We did some one-on-ones, inside running drills, things like that, kind of the, if you will, normal situations, so that was good. Today we’€™re going to get into red area and third down and two-minute and tomorrow we’€™re going to get into some more situational play and I think that’€™s where a lot of the value comes on this.

“It’€™s hard to get your ‘€“ I mean, let’€™s face it ‘€“ there’€™s no team in the league that’€™s going to have their starting offense and starting defense on the field on the final drive of the game in preseason like it’€™s going to be in the regular season. So in order to get work like that, this is a good opportunity to get it against somebody else. Not only the situations, but just playing against another team in that situation, trying to stop them or trying to score. Same in the red area ‘€“ we may get a handful of red area plays in the preseason games. Don’€™t know. We might not. But we know we’€™re going to get probably over 25 today. Same thing on third down.

“I don’€™t know how many third downs some of our guys who are going to have a lot of playing time during the year are going to get in preseason, but by the end of the week we’€™ll probably have 30 third down situations here. You just can’€™t get the reps in preseason games like you can get out here on the practice fields. Especially in situational play, I think that’€™s very valuable for the individual players and also collectively for the team in terms of communication and playing in the situation. I think that’€™s the biggest value. We had some live contact yesterday for some of the guys that have less experience, less playing time, to give them an opportunity to show what they can do. We’€™ll see that today and we’€™ll see it obviously Thursday, so that’€™s kind of the different priority for those players, so Jay and I have adjusted the schedule to accommodate that.

Read More: 2014 training camp, Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, Ryan Mallett
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