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What to watch for Thursday when it comes to Ryan Mallett

08.07.14 at 12:52 pm ET

Ryan Mallett is scheduled to get the start Thursday night for the Patriots in their preseason opener against the Redskins. Here are three things to keep an eye on when it comes to measuring Mallett’s performance:

1. Does he have that touch with the short and intermediate passes that he’s struggled with in the past? Mallett has terrific arm strength — where he’s had problems is in putting touch on the ball. No one doubts his ability to go deep to a wide receiver. What the Patriots want to see is Mallett’s ability to deliver the ball with some finesse to running backs and receivers.

2. Can he execute situationally? Mallett will inevitably be placed in some situations where he will be asked to execute specific assignments: Two-minute work, red-zone and an ability to dictate offensive pace will all likely be on the menu Thursday night for Mallett. If he can manage the offense when presented with a variety of responsibilities and scenarios, it will be considered a good outing for Mallett.

3. How does he deal with failure? No matter how good you are as a quarterback, you will have setbacks. How does Mallett respond to a blown block that leads to pressure (or a sack) or a dropped pass?

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