Big preseason for QB Mallett

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the positional battles to watch this preseason is for the No. 2 quarterback spot behind Tom Brady.

Four-year veteran Brian Hoyer has held the job the past three seasons. Ryan Mallett, the 2011 third-round draft choice, is his sole competition on the roster.

With this in mind, director of player personnel Nick Caserio was asked about Mallett on Saturday, specifically in what areas the team is hoping to see improvement.

"I think there are a lot of things that go into that position -- ball placement, accuracy, arm strength, altering your ball speeds, how does he move in the pocket, just having pocket awareness," Caserio said. "Those are all things that you can work on during the offseason, but when the bullets start flying, that's when you start to see whether or not what you've worked on in the offseason can actually become second-nature.

"The quarterback position in general, there are so many things that go into play. When you get to the coverage aspect, we've only been in one or two coverages, so the quarterbacks really haven't seen too much. But when you start to disguise the coverage, how is he going to react to that? Is he going to see the read? Is he going to see the safeties and make the proper adjustments?

"There are so many things that go into that position, I think you try to focus on one thing each day. Once you start to master that, or feel comfortable with that, you move on to the next one."

From the amateur scout perspective, one area that Mallett seems to be adjusting to is the "altering-your-ball-speeds" category.

In the first two days of camp, he's proven to throw a nice intermediate-to-deep ball. The shorter throws, however, have seemed to give him some trouble (they arrive with high velocity).

On Friday, Mallett said he feels he has learned more from having been in the team's system for a year and that he's "starting to pick up on his progress," which he's excited about.

"Everything," he said, when asked in what areas he'd like to improve. "You can never settle as a player. I feel like you have to refine your skills and the whole aspect of your game. You can't just focus on one thing and leave something to the side."