Friday, August 10, 2012
3 up, 3 down from preseason opener
By Mike Reiss, Mike Rodak & Field Yates
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At an initial glance, before reviewing the TV copy of the game, an opinion on three players whose performance was "up" in the Patriots' preseason opener, and three players whose performance was at the opposite end of the spectrum:
Steve Gregory/Patrick Chung -- Starting safety tandem delivers an interception each, with Gregory showing good ball skills to corral a Jerod Mayo deflection, and Chung taking advantage of an errant throw. A promising start at a position that hurt the Patriots in 2011.
Chandler Jones -- Rookie starts at right defensive end and draws back-to-back holding penalties on Saints first-unit left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who called him "a good physical specimen."
Shane Vereen -- Second-year running back doesn't get a snap in the first half, but provides fireworks to open the third quarter, accounting for 73 of the team's 83 yards on its lone touchdown drive of the night.
Ryan Mallett -- Quarterback finishes 8-of-19 for 89 yards and 1 interception as he struggles with his accuracy.
Sterling Moore -- Cornerback is in coverage on a third-and-22 Saints conversion and also is flagged for a 46-yard pass interference penalty (the officials announced Tavon Wilson as the offender, but Moore was the player who made contact).
Nate Solder -- Left tackle is flagged for two first-quarter holding penalties in a performance that highlighted some of the overall struggles up front. While the struggles might have been expected from others, the fact they came from the 2011 first-round pick was one of the downers for the Patriots.