By Tom E. CurranFOXBORO - The ins-and-outs of the decision to release Brian Hoyer and make Ryan Mallett the lone back to Tom Brady in 2012 was not a topic Bill Belichick wanted to delve into Sunday. There's no doubt it took some deliberation. Hoyer's got three seasons in the system and has shown an ability to manage the team. Mallett is in his second year and coming out of his first full training camp, one that seemed uneven. Hoyer didn't light it up in the preseason games either but seemed much more accurate, composed and effective in camp practices. But we are left to conjecture on the reasons because Belichick wasn't tipping his hand. "I think I really already covered it," said Belichick. "All the decisions we made were what we felt was best for our football team. That takes into consideration a lot of things: it takes into consideration some of the players that are involved, it also looks at other things on the team and where our other strengths and depth is or isnt. We could be here all day talking about. "We did what we thought was bestfor our team," Belichick continued. "There are several players that arent on our team that I think are good football players. Thats nothing against them, but in the end, we did what we feel was best for the New England Patriots. Thats not a negative commentary on anybody else; its a positive commentary on the players who earned a position on the team."Belichick rebuffed the idea that Hoyer may be more effective now but that Mallett will be better given increased time in the system and practice reps. "I personally wouldn't characterize it that way, but that's alright," he said.In the locker room Sunday, Mallett was all business. Im going to prepare like I always do-like Im starting-and be ready to play when its my turn or Im called upon, he said.Mallett's improvement has been lauded by Belichick throughout training camp. Even in the midst of messy practice after messy practice. I feel more comfortable with the offense and knowing whats going on," he explained. "Im still working every day to improve that and I feel like I can gauge that by the decisions I make on the field and going back and watching film.Mallett says he's still working on throwing refinement and adds that success is about choices. Its about the decisions you make," he said. "You have to be able to get the ball to them. Im not worried about my arm strength as much as everyone else is worried about it. Im just worried about decision making and making the right decisions and getting the ball where it needs to go.A peep about Mallett's arm strength hasn't been heard in these parts. Concerns about the accuracy of his cannon? No doubt. With just two quarterbacks on the roster, though, Mallett's going to get a ton of reps in practices. Belichick said that, two quarterbacks or three, every player gets his practice reps physically and mentally. As for expectations for the third-rounder from Arkansas?"Hes in the on-deck circle," said Belichick. "Hes the next guy, which he wasnt really in that position before. Hes earned that spot now. His position is the same, his responsibility is the same but hes going to get more opportunities in practice to prepare and hes closer to being in the game as the backup rather than as the third. I dont think his preparation is any different, I dont think the process is any different because where he was last year, you could be two plays away instead of one. Who knows whats going to happen? He should have prepared last year the way he prepared this year or the way Tom Brady prepares as the starter. Everybody prepares like theyre going to be in the game, theyre going to play it and were going to count on them. Everybody should be doing the same thing as far as that goes. But his practice opportunities will go up as the second guy as opposed to the third guy, of course."
David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez are the cornerstones of the Red Sox' lineup, and the team's fate hinges on them breaking their slumps.