EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Quick-hit thoughts after the second quarter of the Patriots’ preseason finale against the Giants, as the second units took over:
Laurence Maroney sees first action since Aug. 12. The fifth-year running back came onto the field on the team’s third overall series, running behind the backup offensive line. This was Maroney’s first action since the preseason opener against the Saints, and he ran hard. He also acknowledged that he had a mistake in blitz pickup, pointing to himself for failing to pick up a block during the team’s two-minute drive at the end of the quarter.
No depth on the defensive line. With the Patriots dressing just five defensive linemen, they can’t even fill out a second unit. So outside linebacker Pierre Woods has been playing end. In another sign that this is the fourth preseason game, wide receiver Buddy Farnham lined up at safety on the fourth defensive series.
Zoltan Mesko flexes his muscle. The punter, who at 6-foot-5, 231 pounds looks like a linebacker, got the Patriots sideline fired up when he lassoed returner Mario Manningham to record a tackle. It was one of the more authoritative tackles of the night (which isn’t saying much for the team’s defense).
Stephen Gostkowski hits upright. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski hasn’t had many opportunities to kick field goals this preseason -- which hasn’t given him a chance to get used to the team’s new snap-hold-kick operation in game conditions -- but he converted a 46-yard attempt late in the quarter. The kick hit the upright before going through for the successful try.
Brian Hoyer takes a beating. The backup quarterback has been under heavy duress, which doesn’t speak highly of the protection from the second-unit group consisting of left tackle Mark LeVoir, left guard Ted Larsen, center Ryan Wendell, right guard Rich Ohrnberger, right tackle Quinn Ojinnaka, tight end Carson Butler and running back Laurence Maroney. Hoyer is still 7-of-12 for 86 yards, with his best throw a 26-yarder to tight end Rob Myers.