Tidbits and leftovers from preseason opener


Tidbits and leftovers from preseason opener

FOXBORO - The Patriots held a moment of silence before Thursday night's game to remember Junior Seau and other Patriots who passed away in the offseason.

The Saints had two penalties Thursday night that extended Patriots drives - one for an encroachment on a punt, the other for running into the kicker. Still, the Patriots' 1s were not able to get into the end zone. That would be maddening.

The performance of Ryan Mallett we saw Thursday night was about what we've seen in camp. You understand the numbers can be a by-product of the guys he's throwing to in preseason, so the way plays look is often more important than the result. And Mallett's inability to throw the ball before a receiver uncovers and show great anticipation continues to be an issue. As does his tendency to miss high.

Brian Hoyer's lack of arm strength on throws outside the numbers more than 15 yards downfield is the only drawback to his game. But it's a big one. It doesn't help that Brady and Mallett have guns and Hoyer's ball comes out with so much less zip than his peers.

Steve Gregory played strong safety in San Diego. Kind of miscast in that role. Now he'll have more roving, free safety responsibilities and I like the way he looked Thursday night in that role. Jerod Mayo's pursuit and tackle of Darren Sproles was eye-opening. It also put into context his inability to move with the same speed in 2011 when he went from All-Pro to mere good player. Health is everything.
Derek Dennis, whose release from the Miami Dolphins was a highlight (for Dennis, a lowlight) of the first "Hard Knocks" episode on HBO, still has some of the orange bleach in his hair from the Miami Haze. I approached him to talk but he said he didn't get the idea that a rookie talking about a TV show was a smart way to put himself in the Patriots' good graces.