As long as Tom Brady is around, the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback position is filled.
The backup role, however, is a different story.
Ryan Mallett has held the job since 2012, but he might not get to keep it for much longer. The Pats picked quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, and it immediately created a competition.
Garoppolo struggled through organized team activities, minicamp and training camp, but he stepped up when the Patriots needed him in their first preseason game against the Washington Redskins. He went 9-for-13 with 157 yards and one touchdown, while Mallett posted an unimpressive 5-for-12 with 55 yards and zero touchdowns.
Still, Mallett was touted as a “legitimate starting NFL quarterback” by NFL media’s Mike Mayock and has three years of NFL experience. Garoppolo played on a very small stage as the starting quarterback for Eastern Illinois, so there’s no knowing how he’ll adjust to a game that actually means something.
Mallett photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
Garoppolo photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images