A lot of the buzz this week centered around how good quarterback Ryan Mallett looked during the Patriots' joint practice sessions against the Redskins, but on Thursday night it certainly didn't translate onto the field for him during the team's first preseason game.
Ryan Mallett was inconsistent during the Patriots first preseason outing of 2014.
(USA TODAY Images)
Mallett started the game and played the entire first half, finishing the night 5-of-12 (42%) for just 55 yards and over that span the offense had a difficult time moving the football. A lot of that stemmed from the fact they struggled running the football and he also didn't have much success completing passes on early downs. He finished 0-for-3 on first down and just 1-of-3 on second down. That put him in long yardage situations throughout most of the game.
He faced nine second down plays Thursday night, seven of which were from eight or more yards. Third down was just as dismal, with Mallett converting just three of seven on the night, largely because five of those seven were from 10 or more yards.
Granted he didn't have all of New England's best offensive weapons, with Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola among those who sat out Thursday night's contest. However, he still had Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce, Shane Vereen and Brandon LaFell and there were situations where he wasn't as accurate as he needed to be.
He had moments where he threw at LaFell's feet coming back over the middle and another where he badly overshot Roy Finch on a screen pass. Then he would make a tremendous throw like the one he made to Boyce when he fired a laser in between three defenders on a third down play for a first down.
The frustrating part was the fact they couldn't get anything going and failed to put up any points, with Mallett and the offense only crossing midfield twice. They never reached any farther than the Redskins' 36 yard line and that drive ended with a missed 54-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowksi late in the second quarter.
It was simply another inconsistent night in a game where most had hoped he would turn the corner. Considering these opportunities and that much playing time don't exactly come around that often, it's just too bad he didn't rise to the occasion.
After the game Mallett admitted he still has some work to do.
"I feel like I did a few positive things," said Mallett. "A few things I wish I could do different, but that's what practice is for. We go back to work next week and get ready to go again."
For now he'll get back to the drawing board as he gets ready for the Eagles, who will visit the team for joint sessions next week prior to their second exhibition game.