Report: Patriots starting Ryan Mallett at QB Thursday night

Ryan Mallett will reportedly start Week 1 of the preseason for the Patriots.
Ryan Mallett will reportedly start Week 1 of the preseason for the Patriots. (USATSI)

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Thursday night's preseason action -- FOOTBALL! SORT OF! -- will feature a Redskins/Patriots tilt in Washington. But it won't feature Tom Brady.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, Ryan Mallett will start for New England at quarterback during the team's Week 1 preseason game against Washington.

The two teams spent the week practicing together and CBS Sports Jason La Canfora praised the backup, noting he likes "the look" of Mallett, who appears "more composed and at ease" with the Pats offense than he did before.

"I like the look of Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett. He seems more composed and at ease and in command of this offense than before, and he is getting a ton of reps," La Canfora wrote. "His physical comparisons to Brady, just in size and body-type, are hard to miss (I overheard more than a few fans in the stands who actually got them confused from afar). Expect to see an absolute ton of Mallett in the preseason, and I bet he looks pretty good doing it. 

La Canfora asked if Mallett feels like things are slowing down for him in the offense, and the former Arkansas standout said he feels "really good right now."

"I have to say yeah," Mallett said. "I feel really good right now. I’m seeing stuff well."

The ultimate goal for New England at this point is to trade Mallett. They drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the year's draft largely in part to serve as the future behind Brady.

Mallett was once that guy but he has only got one year remaining on his contract. Surely after 2014 he'll be looking for a potential starting job and a more lucrative contract.

The Pats could also try and franchise tag him and trade him, a la their move with Matt Cassel and the Chiefs a few years back. (Don't say you weren't warned, other GMs!)

Which is why he's likely getting so much run this preseason. Best case is this preseason's the last real chance New England has to showcase what he can do. Which is precisely why he'll be seeing plenty of action.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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