BOSTON (CBS) – The NFL Preseason is the perfect time for second and third-string quarterbacks to showcase their talents, especially when there is a guy named Tom Brady ahead of them on the depth chart.

Patriots second-string QB Ryan Mallett figures to get plenty of playing time this preseason, and that will begin Friday when New England takes on the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

It’s unclear if Bill Belichick will send Brady out when the Patriots kick off their preseason, or if he does, for how long.

Vote: How Long Should Brady Play On Friday?

Mallett will play, and probably a lot. That much we know heading into this preseason. But what about Tim Tebow?

The versatile quarterback has had mixed reviews over the early goings of camp, and it’s still unknown how the Patriots will actually use him — if at all — in games.

We could start to get a clearer picture of that Friday night, but Tebow himself isn’t even sure how much of the field he’ll see come Friday.

“I don’t know, it’s not something we’ve really talked about,” Tebow told reporters following the Patriots-Eagles joint practice on Thursday.

Tebow did say Belichick told him to “be ready when your number is called,” so chances are he will hit the turf at some point. Belichick loves to use the preseason to simulate game situations, so there could be an instance where Mallett (or Brady) begins a drive, and the Patriots head coach quickly inserts his third-stringer like he would have to in an emergency.

Roche: Observations From Pats-Eagles Thursday Practice

But whenever Tebow takes the field, he’ll do his best to show off what he’s learned after just a few weeks in the Patriots organization.

“I feel like I’m getting better every single day,” he said. “More comfortable with the offense, better timing with everybody around me, better understanding of what the coaches want me to do and with the offense, with the reads, with the timing.”

“So it’s just every day trying to get a little bit better, and it sounds cliché, but it’s true. That’s really what I’m focused on, and I know it’s something that hopefully I’ve been able to accomplish.”

Read: 10 (Or So) Patriots To Watch In Preseason

As for Mallett, this is a big preseason for the New England second-stringer. He’s been behind the legend of Tom Brady since being drafted in the third round of the 2011 draft, attempting just four passes in his brief NFL career. Now as preseason arrives, this is his time to shine.

“I feel like I’ve improved a lot overall,” he told reporters on Thursday. “I’m confident and ready to go.”

“I’ve been looking forward to football season. That offseason was a long one,” he said. “Like always, I’m just trying to do my job — whatever the team asks me. When my number is called, I’ll be ready.”

Tune in to Friday’s Patriots-Eagles preseason game on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship stations of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins on 98.5 FM at 4:30 p.m. and on WBZ-TV at 7 p.m.. 

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