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Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Cleaning out the Pats notebook

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cleaning out the Patriots notebook from Monday's 27-17 loss to the Eagles:

1. Bill Belichick was furious on the sideline after the replacement officials didn't give him the option to accept an offside penalty on a point-after-attempt following the team's second-quarter touchdown. He had to run down the sideline and yell to referee Jerry Frump that it wasn't an automatic enforecement on the ensuing kickoff, that he had the option to accept the penalty at that moment (which he did, deciding to work on a 2-point conversion). This is what has to frustrate coaches like Belichick the most when it comes to replacement officials -- the coaches have enough to worry about with their own teams, they don't need to coach the officials too.

2. Nice showing by fourth-year defensive lineman Ron Brace getting some push inside. With veteran Jonathan Fanene's extended absence, the defensive tackle group has Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love as the top options, with Brace and Brandon Deaderick the next in line. Brace showed up more than Deaderick on Monday night.

3. Just 12 snaps for first-round draft choices Chandler Jones and 11 for fellow first-rounder Dont'a Hightower, who played the first two drives and then were done. On a night when the coaching staff wanted to evaluate some younger players, this seemed like a strong vote of confidence for Jones and Hightower. We'd expect to see more of them Friday night in Tampa.

4. Hightower led the huddle on the first two drives, with the communication device in his helmet. "We change it from game to game, or within practices, so that multiple players are able to do that depending on what could come up during the year," Belichick explained.

5. Defensive lineman Kyle Love, safety Patrick Chung and offensive lineman Dan Connolly went out as captains for the opening toss.