Touching All the Bases

A Brief Thought on a Quarterback Who Doesn't Deserve Much More Consideration Than That

malettryan88.JPG So far as these cloudy eyes can tell, Ryan Mallett's attributes as a quarterback remain the same as they were when he took his first snap for the University of Michigan seven years ago.

He's tall, and he has a strong arm even by NFL quarterback standards, and ... um ... well ... let's see here ... mentioned the laser arm ...

Wait, did I mention he's tall? I mean, the guy is 6-foot-6! That's some good quality height right there. Definitely don't want him sitting in front of you at the movies, am I right?

Listen, I don't mean to jump on the pile Ray Lewis-style regarding Mallett's uninspiring performance during the Patriots' preseason-opening loss to Washington Thursday night.

A lot of ink has been spilled and bandwidth spent on someone you hope never plays before a game's outcome has been decided. If Mallett is ever in the Patriots' huddle, it means either something has gone horribly wrong or he's been converted to tight end.

He was mediocre at best, maddening (presuming you're among the minority who can conjure real emotion during a preseason game) at worst, and ultimately reminded us that he should never be a factor in any meaningful moments for the Patriots.

But in a different context beyond potential on-field contributions to the Patriots, it was very frustrating to watch Mallett last night.

We've been told repeatedly during training camp that he was developing. It's obvious he is not.

He still makes the same mistakes, still throws every pass with the velocity of a junior varsity Brett Favre wannabe, still one-hops throws to the flat, still points the finger Dan Marino-style at his receivers as if he's accomplished things in the National Football League that they have not.

He's what Nuke LaLoosh would be if he chose football over baseball.

Mallett has thrown four passes in three seasons. His greatest accomplishment as a Patriot so far as I can tell was his wholly unnecessary cameo as Tom Brady's wingman when they flagged down an official to rant at the end of a loss to the Panthers last season.

He's obviously not developing, not "popping" as Mike Mayock told us, and any hopes of him standing out in preseason to the point that a quarterback-needy team would trade a decent draft pick for him seems a wish destined to go unfulfilled.

Hey, but he's tall. At least that makes him easy to spot on the sidelines, where for the Patriots' sake he had better remain until he finally moves on to his next football destination.

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