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Quick-hit thoughts after 2nd quarter

8/11/2011

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts after the second quarter of tonight's preseason opener (Patriots leading 19-9):

1. Catch of the night from second-year receiver Taylor Price, who reached out high in front of his body, while turning his body in the back of the end zone to make a fingertip grab and toe-tapping to remain in bounds. Price is a top athlete who did what he needed to do tonight in the battle for roster spots behind Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch and Wes Welker. Hard to believe he's going anywhere.

2. Another player making the most of his opportunity -- rookie running back Stevan Ridley. He runs hard. With second-round pick Shane Vereen sidelined with a hamstring injury, Ridley has risen up.

3. Nice grab from Matthew Slater on a long bomb down the right side from quarterback Brian Hoyer. The play illustrated good arm strength from Hoyer and nice hands and concentration from Slater, whose primary contributions come on special teams.

4. Longshot running back Richard Medlin had a costly miscue, a neutral zone infraction on a punt on fourth-and-1, which extended a Jaguars drive.

5. Second-team offensive line -- LT Nate Solder, LG Thomas Austin, C Rich Ohrnberger, RG Mark LeVoir and RT Steve Maneri -- played the entire 30 minutes in front of quarterback Brian Hoyer. Solid protection provided for the most part.

6. Anyone else think of old No. 52, Ted Johnson, when watching linebacker Dane Fletcher tonight? Fletcher has made the most of his opportunity leading the huddle. He's come a long way, making the team as a rookie free agent last year while making the Tedy Bruschi transition from defensive end to linebacker.

7. Safety Patrick Chung will be kicking himself. He had an easy interception on an overthrow by Blaine Gabbert but couldn't corral the football.

8. Some questions this offseason on which cornerback might line up in the slot in sub packages. Veteran Leigh Bodden had the bulk of the work there in the first half.

9. Brian Hoyer showed the No. 2 quarterback job is in good hands. Nice command of the two-minute offense at the end of the quarter. Arm strength is definitely there (e.g. long throw to Slater).

10. Stephen Gostkowski has hit from 46 and 43 yards tonight, showing that his recovery from a torn right quad muscle has gone well.