With Tom Brady still going strong at 35, Ryan Mallett must bide his time under Bill Belichick's tutelage.
Overview: At 35, Brady proved that age has not yet caught up to him, as he posted yet another highly productive season during his first year reunited with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Many of the strengths that have carried Brady throughout his career showed up again in 2012, with premier decision-making, strong accuracy and a comprehensive understanding of the up-tempo offensive system that allowed him to serve as a coach on the field. The Patriots' offense evolved into an on-field torpedo in 2012, running more plays than in any season previous, and Brady was the catalyst on the field to orchestrate it. Unfortunately, Brady was not at his best when the stakes were at their highest, struggling through the AFC Championship Game. A couple of decisions gone awry hurt the Patriots, and the offense was unable to execute in the red zone. Brady is 7-7 in his past 14 playoff games. Nonetheless, he remains among the best quarterbacks and players in all of football, and put together a stretch of 19 touchdowns and zero interceptions this season that served as notice of his elite stature. There’s no reason to think he can’t play close to the same level in 2013.
2013 Personnel Preview: Brady and Mallett remain under contract, while Mike Kafka was signed to a reserve/future contract earlier this month. There’s been some scuttlebutt about potential interest in a trade for Mallet, but it’s unsubstantiated and seems unlikely. The Patriots went with just two quarterbacks on the active roster in 2012, and the depth chart could well stack up the same way next season.