Quick-hit thoughts after 2nd quarter

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Highlighting observations from the second quarter of the Patriots-Saints preseason game, with New Orleans still leading 3-0 at the half:

1. Hoyer starts, Mallett receives bulk of time. Brian Hoyer started off the quarter under center, playing two series and nine total snaps. After that, it was all Ryan Mallett. Mallett faced heavy pressure on a few reps, and was picked by Saints corner Marquis Johnson.

2. Mayo tips, Gregory picks. Safety Steve Gregory showed soft mitts and concentration in picking off a throw from Saints quarterback Chase Daniel. Credit linebacker Jerod Mayo for the assist, as he tipped the pass near the line of scrimmage.

3. Chung halts Saints drive. Patrick Chung took advantage of a poor throw from Saints quarterback Sean Canfield with an easy pick over the middle.

4. Bolden over Vereen. Running back Stevan Ridley was replaced by undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden, who has impressed so far in camp. This is particularly noteworthy because 2011 second-round draft pick Shane Vereen did not see the field on offense.

5. Situational football. We've talked about situational football at length this week, and what an opportunity for the Patriots offense, working from deep in their own territory with a two-minute offense situation. Have to imagine head coach Bill Belichick will use the drive, which ended in a missed field goal attempt from Stephen Gostkowski, as a teaching point on Friday.

6. Corners see extensive action. The two Patriots defensive starters to play wire-to-wire in the first half? Cornerbacks Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington.

7. Mesko finds the coffin corner. Punter Zoltan Mesko dropped a punt inside the 10-yard line, picking up where he left off in 2011.

8. Penalty box. The Pats took only one penalty in the second quarter, a holding call on Arrington. It was declined, however.