Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Quick-hit thoughts from 2nd quarter
By Field Yates
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Piecing together some observations from the second quarter of the Patriots' preseason game against the Giants (New England leads 3-0 at the half):
1. Wilson forces a breakup. Rookie safety Tavon Wilson delivered a big blow to Giants tight end Martellus Bennett, who had his hands on a pass from Eli Manning down the middle of the seam. Wilson could be called upon as a starter if Patrick Chung in unable to play in the Patriots' regular-season opener against the Titans.
2. Another deflection for Ebner. Speaking of rookie safeties, Nate Ebner notched yet another pass breakup, nearly corralling an Eli Manning pass for an interception. His strong preseason continues, and he looks ready to contribute not only on special teams, but also defense this season.
3. Mesko drops a beauty. One Patriots starter who will almost certainly go wire-to-wire is punter Zoltan Mesko. He dropped a nearly perfect punt on the Patriots' opening drive of the quarter, backing the Giants up to nearly their own 5-yard line.
4. Third-down struggles. One area of struggle for the Patriots on offense was third-down conversions, as the team was successful on just two of 11 tries. Expect this to be a continued point of emphasis in practices leading up to the season opener.
5. Bolden mishandles punt. Once again, Brandon Bolden struggled fielding a punt, as the ball slipped through his grasp as he faded backward to make the catch. Fortunately, the Patriots had a pair of returners back deep on the play, and Jeff Demps was able to fall on the loose ball.
6. Mallett goes the distance. For at least the first half, it was the Ryan Mallett show on offense. He took every snap.