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Ryan Mallett struggles in bid for Patriots backup job

When the New England Patriots drafted quarterback Ryan Mallett late in the third round in 2011, a lot of analysts believed it was a steal. Mallett was a first-round talent that fell due to off-field concerns. The Patriots would keep him in line.

The second part of that assumption has proven correct. Mallett has been a model citizen in New England. The team is still waiting for the talent to show.

Mallett started the team's fourth preseason game, throwing 15 passes for 40 yards. He completed just over half of his preseason passes, averaging almost exactly five yards-per-attempt.

That's rough, and the practice reports about Mallett aren't any better. He does not look comfortable in the offense, or particularly accurate. It's uncertain if Brian Hoyer or Mallett will be Tom Brady's backup in Week 1 of the regular season.

"It's very competitive," Bill Belichick said, via Mike Reiss ESPNBoston after Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Giants. "It's tight. We'll try to make the best decision we can for the team on that."

Hoyer has proven to be a reliable backup and we suspect he will get the job. More was expected out of Mallett.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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