BOSTON (CBS) – The third preseason game is typically the one that most resembles a regular season contest, with the starters getting the bulk of the playing time in preparation for the grueling 16-game slate.

Tom Brady is expected to play at least one half, with the rest of the playing time divvied up between fourth-year pro Ryan Mallett and rookie second round pick Jimmy Garoppolo.

Friday morning on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Adam Jones asked Albert Breer, filling in for Toucher & Rich, if the quarterback to follow Brady in tonight’s game would be a telling sign.

Breer thinks Mallett could be in trouble if he sees a lot of playing time in the fourth preseason game, and cleared up any notion of a competition between he and the newcomer.

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking Jimmy Garoppolo is competing against Ryan Mallett. He’s not,” said Breer. “It’s Jimmy Garoppolo versus himself and how quickly he can pick up things. Mallett is competing against guys that might make the team as a seventh receiver, or a 10th or 11th defensive back.”

“I’m with you on that,” added Jones. “It’s Mallett against a bottom of the roster player, like Malcolm Butler, Josh Boyce or Jake Bequette — someone like that.”

Carrying three quarterbacks on the roster is not something Bill Belichick often does (it’s occurred just once in the last five years), so the potential of parting ways with Ryan Mallett would depend on the coaches and their confidence in Garoppolo to win a handful of games.

If a catastrophic injury were to occur to Tom Brady there’s no way the Patriots win, let alone make the Super Bowl. That being said, as we saw with Green Bay last year with Aaron Rodgers, you need a competent backup to be able to step in and help your team tread water.

“They’ve got some depth at wide receiver and some depth in the defensive backfield, so there’s going to be some tough decisions there. One way to keep an extra player at one of those positions would be to cut Ryan Mallett,” Breer concluded.

Listen below for the full conversation:

WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche called in to Jones and Breer to talk about tonight’s preseason game against the Panthers.

He hopes it’s not another disaster like last year’s third preseason game. He also thinks there’s a change Rob Gronkowski plays.

Listen below for his full preview!



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