QB Mallett welcomes competition

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Life as Ryan Mallett got a little bit tougher this week.

The arrival of Tim Tebow in New England has shifted attention even further away from the Patriots' 2011 third-round pick, who has thrown just four regular-season passes as Tom Brady's backup.

Speaking to a smaller group of reporters than what surrounded Tebow on Tuesday, Mallett said Wednesday that he doesn't view the quarterback position as too crowded.

"It's kind of unique how it's set up, but I think we have three great players in that room who have the ability to go out and help our team win games," he said. "We get it done how we can."

Yet it's not a stretch to consider Tebow, a former first-round pick, as tougher competition for Mallett than Mike Kafka, who was released Monday after spending most of the offseason in New England.

"He's a great player," Mallett said of Tebow. "There's always competition, at every position. It's part of the job."

But is the spectacle surrounding Tebow a distraction?

"I have tunnel vision," Mallett said, laughing. "I don't know what y'all are talking about."

The backup quarterback position is unique in that any playing time, especially in the preseason, is often an audition for a starting job elsewhere in the league. But with two years left on his rookie contract, Mallett said he doesn't view the upcoming preseason as an opportunity to showcase himself outside New England.

"Any time you play a game against another team, all 31 teams are going to watch you perform," he said. "I'm going out there to help the Patriots win. I'm a Patriot. All this other stuff that keeps getting talked about, I don't have anything to do with it."

Whether there is significant interest for Mallett's services elsewhere is unclear, and the easygoing Arkansas native acknowledges that he is still growing into being an NFL quarterback.

"I'm a work in progress, but I feel good, I feel comfortable," he said. "I feel like if my number is called I'm ready to go. Everyday I'm trying to come out here and fine-tune the small things, and make progress in small areas of the game every day."