EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Sharing some halftime thoughts from the Patriots' preseason finale against the Giants (Patriots lead 3-0):
Not much to see here. Just being honest.
The Patriots sat all their starters except for tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Similar to Logan Mankins on Friday in Tampa, Vollmer came off midway through the team's third drive. This gets him acclimated to contact and gives him a chance of being ready for the Sept. 9 season-opener. The line needs him and this was a positive development for the Patriots.
The center rotation is notable -- Ryan Wendell, then Dan Koppen, followed by Dan Connolly and Donald Thomas. That position looks to be open, although if right guard Brian Waters returns, Connolly would seemingly be a leading candidate to move from right guard to center. Koppen, who has been with the team since 2003, looks to be fighting for a job.
We've seen a lot of running back Brandon Bolden tonight. Some promise there as a rusher (punt returning, not so much).
It's been all Ryan Mallett at quarterback, as he has taken the majority of snaps at the position this preseason. Not many open windows for him to find.
Wish we were seeing more of rookie defensive end Jake Bequette. Not sure why he isn't in the rotation, but it's been Trevor Scott and Jermaine Cunningham as the ends, with Justin Francis the third man in. Was hoping to watch more of Bequette, the third-round pick out of Arkansas.
Bill Belichick spent some time speaking with rookie safety Nate Ebner after a third-down stop. Seems like Ebner is making an impression.
Tough moment for referee Don King, who botched an announcement on two Giants penalties. There was a delay of a few minutes. The crowd got on him. Both coaches were steamed. It highlighted the ongoing dispute between the league and its regular officials, and served as a reminder that this isn't business as usual with the replacements. It's not that the regular officials don't make mistakes, but it was the lack of decisivness that stood out in this instance, which doesn't inspire confidence.