FOXBOROUGH — With Tom Brady missing practice because of an unspecified illness, it fell on Ryan Mallett to take all of the quarterback snaps Wednesday. And when we say all, we mean all: Since there are no other quarterbacks on the Patriots roster, Mallett spent time working with the offense and also going against the defense as the scout-team quarterback.
So, in effect, Mallett played the roles of Brady and Peyton Manning on the same day.
“I was both. I like both of them, really — everybody gets to throw it,” Mallett said in a very crowded locker room after practice. “Practice went just as planned. I took a lot more reps so I was a lot more fatigued than normal, that was the only difference.”
The last game snap Mallett took was Aug. 29, during the Patriots’ final preseason game. In a 28-20 win over the Giants, Mallett was 10 of 16 for 117 yards and a touchdown.
Brady played every single offensive snap in the regular season and the playoff win over the Colts.
Even though he didn’t see the field at all during the season, Mallett knows he’s a play away from being called upon, so he practices that way.
“Even when I’m not taking the snaps with the first team, I’m watching and playing the game in my head, so I can get in my reps in case something happens and I do go in the game,” Mallett said.
While the assumption is that Brady will be healthy enough to play in Sunday’s AFC Championship game at Denver, Mallett wasn’t giving anything away.
“That [decision] is not in my pay grade,” Mallett said, when asked if Brady will go.