FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Passing along observations from the first quarter of the Patriots-Saints preseason game, with New Orleans up 3-0 thanks to a 46-yard John Kasay field goal following a Tom Brady fumble:
1. Brady logs two series. Unlike a year ago, quarterback Tom Brady was on the field for the preseason opener. He logged 19 plays on two series (the first of which was extended by an offsides by the Saints during a Patriots punt), finishing 4/7 for 30 yards. Overall, a sufficient night from the quarterback.
2. Ridley leads the way in the backfield. Second-year running back Stevan Ridley was the main horse from the backfield, starting the game and totaling 7 carries for 38 yards. Given his strong preseason, it comes as little surprise to see Ridley play a prominent role with the starters.
3. A pair of holds for Solder. Left tackle Nate Solder has big shoes to fill in 2012, replacing longtime starter Matt Light. Solder was flagged for a pair of holding penalties in the first quarter, however, one of which negated a Brady completion to Brandon Lloyd.
4. Offense opens in two-tight end set. The Patriots opened the game in "12" personnel (one running back, two tight ends, two wide receivers), featuring Ridley in the backfield, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez at tight end, and Wes Welker and Lloyd flanking as the receivers. Just a hunch, but I'd expect to see plenty of this personnel group throughout the season.
5. Two-back spotlight. One question asked regarding the reinstitution of Josh McDaniels as the offensive coordinator was how much use he would make of the fullback position. So far, the answer is three snaps for Eric Kettani, the lone healthy fullback on the roster.
6. Jones draws a pair of flags. All eyes were on the Patriots' top draft choice Chandler Jones, who has already shown up. In a span of just three snaps, Jones drew two holding calls on stud Saints tackle Jermon Bushrod. Bushrod, a power player, had difficulties with Jones' quickness and in-line power. Jones also brought down Saints quarterback Chase Daniel on a third-down scramble, halting a New Orleans drive.
7. Hightower gets reps at Mike/Sam. Fellow first round pick Dont'a Hightower saw snaps at both the Sam and Mike linebacker position. He initially lined up as a Sam (strongside) backer, before taking over in the middle to replace Dane Fletcher, who left with an injury.
8. Secondary relinquishes big gainer. The Patriots secondary did well to counter Brees, who completed just one of four passes for 4 yards. It did, however, surrender a big-gainer on a throw from Daniel to Courtney Roby on third-and-22.