1. Ryan Mallett’s development.
Even if Tom Brady starts and plays a series or two, Mallett still figures to get the bulk of the playing time. And not to overstate things, but this preseason is incredibly important for both Mallett and the Patriots. If he plays well, the Patriots can try to trade him next offseason before his contract runs out in 2014. And he can prove to the rest of the league that he’s ready to be a starting quarterback. Last preseason, Mallett completed 33 of 67 passes (49.3 percent) with three touchdowns, one interception, and a 70.5 passer rating.