New England Patriots: Ryan Mallett Passes Major Test Friday

By Will Gellman
Ryan Mallett
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

When the New England Patriots took the field against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Friday night, fans knew that backup quarterback Ryan Mallett would play the majority of the game. His skills would be on full display for everyone to see. With that opportunity bestowed upon him, he needed to step up and show the team that he could lead the offense in the event of a Tom Brady injury.

Mallett did exactly that on Friday night. Although it wasn’t always perfect, Mallett for the most part, looked very sharp in the game. He completed 12-of-20 passes for 137 yards, one TD and no interceptions. He even showed off some of his athleticism with an eight-yard run at the end of the second quarter.

Although his accuracy can and will get better with time, completion percentage could have been a lot higher in the game. There were a few balls thrown that were off of receivers’ hands in the game. The most notable was a near-perfect pass thrown to Shane Vereen that he dropped right through his hands. The play ended that particular drive for the Patriots, forcing them to punt the ball away.

Overall, Mallett looked like an NFL-caliber quarterback Friday, especially as he settled into the game. After how he looked last night, Patriots’ fans should find solace in knowing that he would be able to, at least, manage the offense, in the event that Brady does go down.

In the meantime, the team has arguably the best starting quarterback in the league playing now in Brady, so Mallett will not have to prove anything at this stage of his career. The next step for the team is to find out whether Tim Tebow can be a competent backup quarterback, which doesn’t seem likely at this point, let alone a starter in the NFL.

How do you think Mallett played Friday night? Do you think he has what it takes to be Brady’s heir apparent? Should he be? Why or why not? Feel free to comment on the subject in the “comments” section below.

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