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Quick-hit thoughts after 1st quarter

8/11/2011

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts after the first quarter:

1. This is a lockout-based approach from Bill Belichick. In not playing several of his top stars, he is making a statement that it's too much football, too quick. The Patriots have only had seven full-pad practices.

2. Tight end Aaron Hernandez has been active, but has two fumbles. Danny Woodhead also recovered his own fumble, as the Patriots have looked predictably sloppy.

3. Defensively, it's been interesting to see the starting safeties Brandon Meriweather and Patrick Chung playing a full load. While other top players got the night off, this is a sign that coaches wanted them to continue to work on their communication in the back end.

4. Rookie running back Stevan Ridley showed some power at the goal-line to score a touchdown. He looks like a nice option in close.

5. Quarterback Brian Hoyer had one throw he'd like to have back, missing an open Julian Edelman high. But overall, he looks comfortable, especially in empty sets.

6. Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham had one of the better defensive plays of the quarter, negating a tight end screen and then picking up a sack.