New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is assigned clipboard duty Thursday night when Ryan Mallett starts the preseason opener against the Washington Redskins.

Brady will not play in the game as Mallett, the subject of offseason trade rumors, works with the first-team offense. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is out for the Patriots, who are taking their time bringing back the All-Pro from a torn ACL and two injury-riddled seasons.

This is the third time since 2004 that Brady didn't play in the preseason opener. He also sat in 2005, 2008 and 2011.

Mallett is in the final year of his contract and second-round rookie Jimmy Garoppolo is viewed as a long-term answer when Brady, 37, decides to hang up his cleats. There is no signal from the former MVP that he is considering retirement.

The Patriots worked out veteran Brady Quinn on Monday, and he told the "Dan Patrick Show" that "something else would need to happen" for him to be signed by the team. Quinn did not disclose the team's identity, but reports indicate it was the Patriots, fueling speculation that New England would still like to part with Mallett.