Mallett more comfortable, confident

Do you think there's a market for backup quarterback Ryan Mallett? AP Photo/Julio Cortez

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For the second time this preseason, Ryan Mallett was under center to begin the game for the Patriots' offense.

He finished with just 40 yards passing in completing 8-of-15 attempts, but has earned more significant reps than he saw as a rookie last season. It's a sign of his development, and Mallett is beginning to feel more comfortable within the offense.

"It's always good to get out there and play ball," he said after Wednesday night's preseason finale against the Giants. "Last year I didn't get as many, I mean it's all right, I was young. I feel a lot more comfortable just with the game, and the speed of the game now, and what I'm doing out there."

The second-year quarterback is using every play as an opportunity to grow.

"You learn from every play," Mallett said. "You go to the sideline, look at the pictures, see something you might not have saw, and get the same play or same coverage and you go back and maybe make a different throw."

Beyond the reps he has received in game action, Mallett cites having a full offseason as pivotal to his confidence.

"Last year I really didn't know too much," he said. "Came in late, didn't help. Having the spring and then the camp now was crucial for me, and I feel a lot more confident in what I'm doing."

With the regular season around the corner, Mallett is likely to see a decreased workload in practice, with Tom Brady receiving the bulk of the first-team reps. Despite that fact, Mallett's focus and approach will not change.

"It doesn't change anything for me. I'm going to go out there like I'm preparing to start every week, get the game plan down, get the opponent down, and just keep moving along."

As for the areas he's specifically targeting to improve upon, Mallett is casting a broad net.

"Everything," he said. "You can never arrive when you're playing quarterback in this league. You've got to get better every day at every little thing."