Leftover thoughts from Patriots' loss

LANDOVER, Md. -- A few leftover thoughts from the New England Patriots' 23-6 preseason-opening loss to the Washington Redskins:

Monitoring the competition at center. The rotation was notable, as incumbent Ryan Wendell played solely the second half with the second unit while Dan Connolly got the start at center and played throughout the first half. The Patriots seem to be taking a long look at various combinations, and Connolly -- who was the starting center in 2011 before switching to right guard the past two seasons -- got the initial look of the preseason. Rookie Bryan Stork, the fourth-round pick from Florida State, remains sidelined after sustaining an undisclosed injury in the fifth training camp practice.

Another step forward for Wilfork. While many of the team's more experienced players were rested, veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork played the first series of the game (10 total snaps). That marked another important step for him in his return from a ruptured Achilles.

Tablets on the sideline. Undrafted free-agent tight end Justin Jones was asked after the game about the team's usage of tablets on the sideline. "They were just pictures from the play," he explained. "Literally the drive we came off the field, they had [it] up on the [tablet], so we just discussed what happened -- had a few frames from each play and gave us a good look at what was going on on the field since we can't really have film on the sidelines. It was a good picture of what was going on out there."

Tyms draws a crowd after the game. Second-year receiver Brian Tyms, who finished with five catches for 119 yards and a touchdown, drew one of the largest media crowds after the game. The Florida A&M product had jumped into the crowd after scoring a touchdown. "All I really came here to do was earn respect from my teammates and coaches ... and win," he said. "Everything else really doesn't matter to me."

Two running backs at the same time. One question that has popped up from time to time this year is if the Patriots might consider using running backs Shane Vereen and James White on the field at the same time. The offense experimented with it on one play -- a 7-yard completion to receiver Kenbrell Thompkins that was negated by a penalty.

Fumbling costs Houston reps. Undrafted running back Stephen Houston, who lost a fumble in the fourth quarter, didn't play another offensive snap after the miscue. That's consistent with how the coaching staff has handled fumbling in the past, most notably with running back Stevan Ridley.