Ryan Mallett to start in Patriots’ preseason opener

By Ian Sacks,

The New England Patriots will be without two of their biggest offensive weapons when they begin their preseason schedule on Thursday night. The organization announced that quarterback Ryan Mallett will start in the team’s preseason opener against the Washington Redskins, and Tom Brady will sit the game out.

This news comes days after the Patriots decided to leave tight end Rob Gronkowski home for the team’s joint practice with the Redskins. He is returning from a torn ACL.

Mallett has had the best training camp of his career, completing 64 percent of his passes in the full-pad practices. The 2011 third-round draft pick is entering the final year of his contract, reports SI.com.

Brady, who has sat out three preseason openers since taking over the starting quarterback job, has been even more effective during the team’s practices this week. He has connected on 60 of his 80 throws.

Behind Mallett will be rookie Jimmy Garoppolo. The team selected him in the second round of the draft this past May and view him as the eventual replacement for Brady, who just turned 37, according to Sports Xchange.

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