Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

New England Patriots Ryan Mallett is No. 2 QB


New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has confirmed what we know, and that is that second-year quarterback Ryan Mallett won the No. 2 QB gig and is the primary backup for Tom Brady going forward.

Per the above tweet from Christopher Price, Belichick goes on to say, “He’s in the on-deck circle. He’s the next guy. … He’s earned that spot now.”

He truly has earned that spot, as Mallett outperformed previous No. 2 quarterback Brian Hoyer in the preseason. He completed a higher percentage of his passes than Hoyer despite playing with worse wide receivers who committed some frustrating mistakes. Hoyer was poor in the preseason, while Mallett was encouraging and about average overall (the numbers didn’t do him justice).

Mallett only averaged 4.4 yards per attempt, but he looked calm and poised in the final three preseason games and never threw an interception in the final three games (I’m not counting the first game here). That last part is key, as he looks better under pressure and was able to cap three drives with touchdown passes without making a huge mistake. Mallett is still, of course, rough around the edges, but he has clearly earned this opportunity.

There is a lot of optimism surrounding the former Arkansas star, and we will all be watching Mallett closely to see how he develops after claiming the No. 2 job this season. The Patriots are interested in the accurate Mike Kafka as a No. 3 QB and insurance, and he passed through waivers despite drawing interest from a few teams. This is likely due to his broken left hand.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

Tags: Brian Hoyer Mike Kafka New England Patriots Ryan Mallett