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Ryan Mallett struggles in showcase for New England

The New England Patriots started Ryan Mallett at quarterback Thursday night against Washington, presumably hoping to showcase him to potential trade suitors. Again. His performance isn't likely to impress anyone.

Mallett completed 5 of 12 passes for 55 yards in one half of action. The Patriots didn't score with Mallett under center and lost to the Redskins 23-6.

We saw troubling characteristics out of Mallett on Thursday that we have seen in many preseason appearances. He is not comfortable in the pocket, and he has erratic accuracy. One of his passes to an open receiver went into the ground. He hasn't consistently exhibited a good feel for the game during four years of preseason outings.

"The fact that nobody Pats-related ever went after him speaks volumes," one NFC executive told NFL Media's Albert Breer about Mallett's trade value this week. "Plus, he can't help you this year, so why not just sign him as a free agent?"

We expect Mallett to remain in New England this year. The bigger question: Will he be the team's backup?

Rookie Jimmy Garoppolo looked decisive in the second half, albeit against third-string competition. He finished 9 of 13 for 157 yards and a touchdown pass, with a few good-looking deep throws. (He might have had another long TD if Bill Belichick had challenged one incompletion.)

Look for Garoppolo to get a chance to play with the backups at some stage during the preseason, and possibly pass Mallett on the depth chart.

*The latest Around The League Podcast answers every question about preseason action that you were too afraid to ask. *

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