Jaguars vs. Patriots: Assessing QB Ryan Mallett's New England Debut

Eitan KatzAnalyst IIAugust 12, 2011

FOXBOROUGH, MA  - JULY 29:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the New England Patriots participates in training camp at Gillette Stadium on July 29, 2011 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Ryan Mallett exceeded everyone's expectations in last night's NFL preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

He was, in a word, dominant. This is nothing against Brian Hoyer (who was also spectacular last night and even reminded me of a young Tom Brady), but the way that Mallett plays the game is just so powerful.

Having watched every second of last night's game, I can say with confidence that Ryan Mallett can one day be an NFL starting quarterback.

His throwing motion is long, and that is something that he will need to improve, but almost everything else was NFL ready.

The way he glided around the pocket to bide himself time; the way he was able to zip the ball into such small windows with so much velocity I could nearly hear it through the television; the way he ran the hurry-up offense with so much confidence and swagger.

I loved it all. It was just mesmerizing to watch.

Here is a guy playing in his first NFL game, and he's ordering other players around like he's Bill Belichick.

The crazy thing is they listened—willingly.

Mallett showed leadership and a certain command of the room that usually only comes with years of NFL experience.

It helps that he has a cannon strapped to his right arm. The dude can throw the ball as fast and as hard as anyone you've ever seen. He was throwing zingers into traffic, and he was throwing lobs and dump-offs. Mallett really displayed his great range last night.

One of his best throws of the night, from my perspective, was the dump-off touchdown he threw to Stevan Ridley (who also dazzled with three touchdowns). It was the right throw at the right time, and he put it right on the money. It just looked so easy.

Now obviously, this is only one game against one pretty crummy opponent's second- or third-string defensive lineup. But don't discount it completely. The intensity with which Mallett controlled the huddle isn't something you can simulate in practice.

Ryan Mallett brought his A-game tonight, along with the rest of the New England Patriots.

We will really know what the big-armed quarterback is made of when he needs to lead his team to victory. This week was definitely only a practice test, but there is no doubt—Mallett aced it.