2. BACKUP QUARTERBACK:
Jun 17, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo talks with the media following mini camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots invested a second-round draft pick on Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this past NFL Draft. With backup quarterback Ryan Mallett in the last year of his rookie deal there could be turnover at the position. Belichick is often very concerned with spots at the backend of the roster and may not wish to invest in an extra roster spot for a backup quarterback in 2014.
The big question is if Garappolo is able to acclimate himself to the offense and earn the trust of Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to be the only backup quarterback on the roster. Garappolo has all the tools but little experience. While Mallett hardly has a considerable regular season pedigree, he has a number of preseason games under his belt and a number of years in the offensive system.
While Mallett has failed to impress in the preseason when given an opportunity for extended playing time, the decision comes down to the play of Garappolo. If the rookie is able to grasp the playbook and earn the confidence of the coaching staff this summer he could move up the depth chart and cause Mallett to look elsewhere for employment. Just as Brian Hoyer was a surprising release a few years ago to allow Mallett to be the only backup the situation could repeat with Mallett being the one on the chopping block pushed by an impressive young quarterback.