Quarterback Ryan Mallett, chosen by the Patriots in the third round of the NFL Draft Friday, visited the team at Gillette Stadium Saturday and said he was eager to learn from incumbent Tom Brady.
“I’m looking forward to coming in to learn as much as I can and working hard. That’s all I can do. I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Mallett said.
Mallett, who set numerous records at Arkansas, has tremendous arm strength but is slow on his feet, having registered the slowest 40 time for a quarterback at the scouting combine in the last 22 years. But he thinks Arkansas’s pro-style offense prepared him well for the NFL.
“We’re under center, we’re in the shotgun, we’re making protection calls, we’re audibling. We’re doing all that. Terminology is obviously going to be different from team to team, so that’s going to be the biggest obstacle as well as learning the new plays, the new defenses of the NFL,” Mallett said.
Click the Full Entry button to read the full Q&A from Mallett’s visit, as provided by the Patriots’ media relations department.
Q: What have you been doing? When did you get here? Can you bring us through what you’ve been through since you were picked?
RM: I got picked, went to sleep pretty quick after that, had an early flight, got up here, just meeting all the coaches, talking to them, really can’t do much right now with the lockout, so talk to you guys now and go to the hotel and get ready to go back home.
Q: Is there a workout plan now? Are you going to keep doing what you were doing before the draft?
RM: My workout will be more geared to the football season not really for the combine stuff. It will be a lot more throwing, a lot more running. But still a lot of the same stuff.
Q: What are your thoughts about playing behind Tom Brady and having someone to learn from?
RM: I’m looking forward to coming in to learn as much as I can and working hard. That’s all I can do. I’m grateful for the opportunity.
Q: Will Middlebrooks gave us a little bit of a scouting report on you last night. Tell us a little bit about him and your relationship with him?
RM: Will and I have been friends since seventh grade I believe. He’s a great baseball player. He’s a great all around athlete. He played basketball, he won a state championship as a quarterback in football. We’ve been like brothers ever since fifth grade.
Q: What kind of guy did the Red Sox get in him?
RM: He’s a great kid. He’s a coach’s son also. Great character guy.
Q: Your offense at Arkansas seemed to be a similar to a pro style offense. Are there some similarities to what the Patriots do?
RM: I haven’t really been able to talk ball except for the short visit I had earlier this month. The Arkansas offense is pro style. We’re under center, we’re in the shot gun, we’re making protection calls, we’re audibling. We’re doing all that. Terminology is obviously going to be different from team to team, so that’s going to be the biggest obstacle as well as learning the new plays, the new defenses of the NFL.
Q: How much do you think you’re going to miss home? It’s a whole new area of the country.
trong>RM: Well, I’ve dealt with it once. So, I’ve got a good feeling of how it’s going to be, but it’s going to be a lot different. It’s a lot of work going to be put in here up at the facility, and I’m just looking forward to coming here and going to work.
Q: Walk us through what today has been like for you. Have you had the chance to meet with any coaches? Were you able to get the playbook?
RM: No, can’t get playbook, can’t talk football. It’s really say ‘Hello.’ Kind of watching the draft, hanging out. Doing different obligations that we had to do for the team.
Q: I know you had circumstances to leave Michigan, but do you expect to hear any grief from Tom Brady about leaving his alma mater?
RM: I don’t know. I don’t know. We’ll see.
Q: Do you think you’ll be star struck when you meet Tom Brady?
RM: I don’t know. Obviously Tom’s a great player. I don’t really get too star struck. I’ve been around a lot of great players at University of Michigan and Arkansas, so I’ll say, ‘Hey what’s up.’
Q: What do you think you’ll miss about the college game?
RM: I don’t know. The conference rivalries were always a lot of fun. Playing against Stevan Ridley and guys like that, and the SEC was a lot of fun. So probably that would be the most.
Q: Did you have an NFL team that you liked growing up?
RM: Growing up, I was a Cowboys fan being from down there. Now, I’m 100 percent Patriots.
Q: You’ll be able to switch easily?
RM: Oh, no question.
Q: When you redshirted when you transferred, what was that year like for you? Was it productive, was it tough to sit and watch?
RM: It was both. It was productive and tough. Productive in the way that I could get really into the playbook and learn really everything in and out of it. It was hard knowing that I couldn’t go play. I didn’t have the chance to play because of the rule. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get on the field. So, that was probably the hardest part of that year.
Q: So how do you do it? Does practice become your game?
RM: Pretty much. Pretty much that becomes the mental game you have to play in your head like it’s the fourth quarter, final drive.
Q: Aside from Petrino’s offense was there anything that he brought to the table that got you ready for the pro game?
RM: The intensity with which he coached and obviously the knowledge he helped me gain about defenses, about offense, about techniques of different players really has helped.
Q: Did you enjoy doing the ‘Camp Gruden’ thing?
RM: Yeah, definitely. It was a lot of fun. He’s a great coach He’s a great guy. And I still stay in contact with him.
Q: The interesting thing is we get to look behind the scenes of how you process things on your end. Do you kind of revel in a setting like that as opposed to a setting like this with the media asking you questions?
RM: Definitely. It’s my job. My job is to know what’s going on with all the guys on the field. I feel like being in a closed session with guys like that is a lot easier.
Q: Now, he rode you at point and said if you’re not going to go full speed here, you’re not going to get everything out of it. You can imagine the tempo and everything will pick up on this level. How do you prepare for that if you don’t have the opportunity to do mini camp stuff?
RM: You practice harder. You train harder. You train faster, as fast as you can every rep whether it’s running, whether it’s throwing, whether it’s a drop back, a lift, you do it as hard as you can every time.
Q: Are you planning on staying up here to work out? Do you have a workout plan?
RM: I’ll be going back to Dallas to work out in Dallas.
Q: As a quarterback, you’re obviously the center of attention; it obviously comes with the position. Do you embrace and enjoy that aspect of the position being the guy in the spotlight.
RM: The thing I like about the position is you get to lead a group of guys during the practice, during the game, the final minute of the game, whatever it is. You’re responsible for the 10 other guys on the field and yourself to get things done right. And that’s what I really enjoy about the position.
Q: Being here at Gillette Stadium today, what have you taken from this visit? What are your impressions of the facility?
RM: It’s a great facility. Obviously the tradition here is a great tradition. It’s an honor to be a part of it, but now it’s time to go back to work and get ready to go play football.
Q: Did anything stand out to you about the setup of this facility?
RM: I like the setup of how the stadium is and what’s around the stadium. It’s a great stadium. Obviously you can tell that.
Q: Obviously, you were happy to be here as you said. Was it tough to drop to the third round?
RM: Obviously it’s disappointing, but I just wanted to hear my name called at any point. I’m a competitor, so now it’s my turn to go compete. I get to compete in the highest level of football that there is, and there’s not a better opportunity.
Q: Do you have that mentality where you want to prove people wrong?
RM: Obviously. When there are six other guys at your position taken ahead of you, there’s going to be that.