By Tom E. Curran
FOXBORO - Chandler Jones showed length and the Patriots offense showed its got a long way to go before its clicking the way one expects it will.
A collection of chronological observations.
New guys on the kickoff team from last year were Brandon Bolden, Nate Ebner and Bobby Carpenter.
The starting defense was in a 4-3 alignment with Rob Ninkovich, Kyle Love and Vince Wilfork and Chandler Jones up front; Dont'a Hightower, Dane Fletcher and Jerod Mayo at linebacker and Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Steve Gregory and Kyle Arrington in the secondary.
Chandler Jones had a terrific start to his preseason. Matched up against Pro Bowler Jermane Bushrod, he drew two holds and caused a hurry. He showed all the things that have made him the talk of training camp - power, quickness, motor and pursuit.
Dane Fletcher went down with a left knee injury on a punt and went directly to the locker room after being helped off the field. With him out, at least the Patriots have a guy like Bobby Carpenter to mix in this year.
When the Patriots went to six DBs, Tavon Wilson and Ras-I Dowling came in.
The Patriots starting offensive line was Nate Solder, Donald Thomas, Dan Koppen, Dan Connolly and Marcus Cannon.
Tom Brady was in for two series. He went 4-for-7 for 30 yards with a strip sack by Will Smith. The Patriots went 1-for-5 on third down.
Stevan Ridley (7 carries, 38 yards), showed terrific burst to the edge on two of his runs.
Ridley could have gotten more on one of the runs but Dan Koppen labored to get downfield and couldn't get a block on at linebacker depth.
There were three throws to Brandon Lloyd. The first was a back-shoulder throw on the right sideline that got up on him before he could react. The second was a simple post downfield off of play action. Brady could have led him more; Lloyd could have done a better job working back to the ball. The last was a terrific crossing catch by Lloyd wiped out by a holding penalty.
Nate Solder wasn't consistent. He got beat badly on one play by Will Smith causing a pressure. A couple plays later, Solder tried to send Smith upfield after Smith turned the corner. Solder was successful. Bad news for him was Tom Brady then rolled right and Smith was able to track hm down. Mayo looking really good on some outside coverage of Darren sproles.
Jerod Mayo looked fast, including a trackdown of slippery-back Darren Sproles.
The Saints didn't have their starting corners on the field nor did they have tight end Jimmy Graham or running back Mark Ingram.
Dont'a Hightower was caught up in the wash on a couple of plays and could have done a better job processing.