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Ryan Mallett to start Patriots' preseason opener


NFL Media's Mike Mayock called Ryan Mallett a legitimate starting NFL quarterback this week. As fate would have it, the signal-caller will reportedly get his chance to show it Thursday night.

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NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Mallett will start in place of Tom Brady in the New England Patriots' preseason opener against the Washington Redskins, per a source informed of the move. The Boston Herald's Jeff Howe first reported the news.

Brady has skipped the preseason opener in the past (2005, 2008, 2011), so this isn't exactly a revelation. Plus, Brady practiced all week against the Redskins' defense -- reportedly going 60-of-80 passing in drills -- and the team feels comfortable with his progress and rhythm.

Brady sitting gives the Patriots a chance to do some more buffing of Mallett's resume for a potential trade.

Mallet enters the final year of his rookie deal and is on his way out of New England. The Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round to be Brady's future backup.

Barring a catastrophic preseason injury, a trade at this stage appears doubtful -- if a team hasn't stepped up to pay the Patriots' asking price, what sort of performance could spur action? However, it provides a chance for Mallett to show his worth on the open market next offseason.

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