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It’s All Up To Mallett Now

Last week I wrote on this site and said on various radio stations across the Southeast that Ryan Mallett a) reminded me of Drew Bledsoe and b) would likely be a steal for someone in the draft if his head’s screwed on tightly.  Little did I know Mallett would wind up on Bledsoe’s old team, which also happens to be the one team in sports that I pull for above all others.

And personally I’m happy with New England’s decision to use a third-round pick on the former Arkansas quarterback.  His talent — aside from a very slow pair of feet — should’ve landed him a top 15 type of contract.  Instead, the Patriots got him with a pick they pilfered from Minnesota in last Fall’s surprisingly shrewd Randy Moss deal.  There’s really no potential downside for the Patriots. 

As for Mallett, while the folks back in the Natural State continue to focus on the negative press he’s getting, the QB has his future in his own hands now.  He’s landed in a place where he can carry the clipboard and back up a future Hall of Famer.  He can learn and study and develop and — perhaps — grow up without the pressure associated with being a team’s starter.

If Mallett walks the straight and narrow he should be able to parlay his big arm and his knowledge of the game into a solid professional career.  Think Aaron Rodgers.  The reigning Super Bowl sat behind Hall of Famer Brett Favre patiently for three seasons.  He worked, he studied, he grew.  He didn’t complain.  And he didn’t flake out.  Eventually, he got his own chance to shine.

If Mallett doesn’t keep his nose clean — pun intended — then he could go down in NFL annals as a cross between Ryan Leaf and a 6-foot-7 Eminem.  If he is the first guy out of the film room and the first guy off the practice field every day, he’s more likely to be Kevin O’Connell than Rodgers.

Who’s O’Connell?  He’s the last “heir apparent” to Tom Brady the Pats drafted with a third round pick.  The tall, stout, record-setting quarterback (sound familiar?) from San Diego State was drafted in 2008… and waived in 2009.

Harry King of correctly states the following about New England’s latest third-round QB pick:

Immediately and officially, (Mallett’s) competition to back up Brady includes Brian Hoyer and Jonathan Crompton.  Unofficially, his competition is himself.


Patriots coach and football czar Bill Belichick is already a fan of Mallett’s.  So the quarterback starts his career with a clean slate.  If he keeps it clean and follows the Rodgers’ plan, his draft fall might not be such a bad thing in the long run. 

But if all the long-rumored issues turn out to be more than just rumored issues, he might someday realize that he’s have been better off staying in Fayetteville to do some more growing up.

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Weis Says There Was No Rift With KC’s Haley; Former ND Aide Joining Him At UF

Despite reports from across the NFL saying that he and head coach Todd Haley weren’t the best of buds, Kansas City offensive coordinator Charlie Weis says that’s not the case.

“I almost get offended when people say that.  People always want to look for a different angle for why you’re doing this (meaning: going to Florida).  … But this decision had absolutely zero to do with relationships in Kansas City.”

Instead, Weis told The Kansas City Star that he has become friends with new Gators’ coach Will Muschamp.  His son will also begin attending Florida next year and will serve as some type of assistant on the Gators’ staff while he’s in school.

“He wants to coach.  It took us very long to try to find a place where he could be involved with the football program in a student-assistant capacity.  When I finally did talk to Will, we chatted about that and then we talked about me.  I had to really reflect on that, spend time with my wife and Charlie (his son).  We talked about a whole bunch of thigns and at the end of the day, I don’t think anybody could understand how wonderful an opportunity it would be to be able to work at a place and see your kid on a daily basis.”

“It’s a tough business,” Weis said.  “To go to a program like Florida and be able to be around my kid at the same time… is almost a dream.”

Regardless of how or why Weis is moving to Gainesville, the Gators have landed a coordinator who has worked with Drew Bledsoe, Tom Brady, Brady Quinn, Jimmy Clausen and Matt Cassel. 

That history alone should put a smile on the faces of Gator fans and quarterback recruits.

Also, Muschamp and Weis have brought in former Notre Dame offensive line coach Frank Verducci.  Verducci will serve in the same capacity in Gainesville though he will also have the title of “run game coordinator.”

Muschamp has grabbed George Wynn from Texas as his director of football operations.

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