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Thursday, August 29, 2013
Quick-hit thoughts after first quarter

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts from the first quarter of the New England Patriots' preseason finale against the New York Giants:

1. The team played almost all second- and third-stringers. One exception was right guard Dan Connolly, who is still working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery. He played three series last week, which was his first action of the preseason.

2. Punter Zoltan Mesko, who appeared to have seized control of the competition against rookie Ryan Allen over the past week or so, took both attempts in the opening quarter. Solid stuff from Mesko, who showed good leg strength on his first attempt, a 55-yarder, then excellent control and hang time on his second, which he landed inside the Giants' 10-yard line after punting from their 37.

3. Perhaps ominous signs for veteran safety Adrian Wilson, who played every snap of the first quarter on a night when it's been mostly backups. That's a clear sign that Steve Gregory is ahead of him on the depth chart and Wilson's place on the roster isn't a lock. Likewise, at running back, veteran Leon Washington has been splitting time with rookie George Winn.

4. Quarterback Ryan Mallett's touch and accuracy in the short and intermediate areas of the field are, to be kind, a work in progress. The first drive ended on an overthrow of Washington, who was open on the play. Mallett also threw high on the second drive.

5. The second-unit defense competed well against the Giants' first-string offense on the first two series. That was an improvement from last week, when the reserves struggled against the Lions.

6. From the penalty box: Rookie cornerback Stephon Morris was flagged for a block above the waist on a punt return.