Ryan Mallett fidgeted at a podium Thursday night and hesitated to delve all that deeply into his first preseason performance of the season against the Redskins.
"I'm gonna have to go watch the film," he said. "There was good. There was bad."
The numbers reveal a less-than-popping performance: He was 5-for-12 for 55 yards and no touchdowns. The Patriots offense was held scoreless in the first half with Mallett taking snaps, and it never seemed to get into any kind of consistent rhythm with him on the field.
In comparison to rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who went 9-for-13 for 157 yards and a touchdown pass, it was a rough night for the quarterback who seemed to have a stranglehold on the backup job coming into the game.
Mallett had some difficulty completing short throws, overthrowing rookie running back Roy Finch on a screen pass and spiking balls around the ankles of Kenbrell Thompkins and Brandon LaFell.
There were good reads that he made, however, that were negated by his teammates. His first completion of the game -- a 15-yarder to LaFell -- was called back because of a holding penalty on Nate Solder.
Mallett then had passes that fell incomplete when it looked like Josh Boyce and Finch ran incorrect routes.
He also faced pressure for much of the night thanks to some shoddy work by his offensive line. Solder was beaten for a sack by Brian Orakpo, and the interior linemen in front of Mallett -- including Josh Kline, Jordan Devey, Dan Connolly and Marcus Cannon at different points -- allowed Redskins defenders to break the pocket, forcing the 6-foot-6 signal-caller off his spot.
Mallett explained that the Patriots didn't employ offensive looks that were all that exotic, yet he and his teammates still had difficulty being efficient with their chances.
"We call plays based on personnel based on what we had available," he said. "[The Redskins] didn't really give us looks to check out of. We just didn't execute very well. That's what we've gotta do. We've gotta execute and do our jobs out there."
The No. 2 quarterback job in New England is still likely Mallett's to lose. Garoppolo will have to continue build on his standout performance to wrestle that title away from a four-year veteran -- especially since Garoppolo had struggled in practices leading up to Thursday.
But in the weeks ahead, Mallett will have to do some polishing of his own before he can get comfortable in his place as the backup to Tom Brady. His night against the Redskins was a reminder that there's still plenty for him to clean up.