FOXBORO -- After committing two holding penalties in the first quarter, one of which wiped out a 17-yard gain from Tom Brady to Brandon Lloyd, starting left tackle Nate Solder said he realizes his play has to improve before the regular season. 

"I've got to do better than that," Solder said after Thursday's 7-6 win over the Saints in the preseason opener. "It's just learn and move on, you know? It's all about getting better, building off of it and continuing to work hard." 

FOXBORO -- Rookie Chandler Jones provided several highlights with his pass rush on the first team defense and Brian Hoyer led the Patriots on a 97-yard touchdown drive to open the second half as the Patriots beat the Saints, 7-6, Thursday night in New England's preseason opener. The win was marred by the loss of linebacker Dane Fletcher, who reportedly tore the ACL in his left knee on New England's first punt of the night. 

FOXBORO -- Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher tore the ACL in his left knee in the first quarter of Thursday's preseason opener, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Fletcher started the game at inside linebacker for the Patriots -- filling in for Brandon Spikes -- and was part of a unit that forced a three-and-out on Drew Brees and the Saints. 

Then, as the Patriots' first drive stalled, he returned to the field on the punt unit. He fell to the turf and needed help to get off the field. Fletcher was taken to the locker room, where the diagnosis was made. 

FOXBORO -- When it comes to the first game of the preseason, different players have different goals. While some rookies are just looking to get their feet wet, others will be tested to see how they do in their first relatively competitive action in the NFL.



FOXBORO -- We’ve been here before: High-powered NFL team gets enmeshed in scandal and receives massive penalties from the league. Meanwhile, critics doubt their success and ask whether or not it will prevent future glory.



FOXBORO -- Ferrari or Rolls-Royce? Godfather or GoodFellas? Five Guys or In-N-Out Burger? These are debates with no wrong answer.



FOXBORO -- After the first of two joint practices in advance of their preseason game Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, interim Saints coach Joe Vitt and Patriots coach Bill Belichick exchanged compliments of each other's organizations. Vitt went as far as to call the Patriots "the Microsoft of the NFL" as a model franchise. Belichick was humbled by the praise.

On Tuesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick will attend the funeral of Garrett Reid, the late son of Eagles coach Andy Reid who passed away earlier this month, according to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Belichick and Reid have been close for several years, and on Sunday, Belichick offered his condolences to the Reid family, saying, "Andy is a good friend of mine. My heart goes out to him and his family."

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

FOXBORO -- Prior to the start of camp, we took a look at five guys who were on the hot seat when it came to making the 53-man roster.



FOXBORO -- For the Patriots’ secondary, the low point of the 2011 season came when former New England defensive back Rodney Harrison went all Comic Book Guy (“Worst Secondary Ever”) on the group in December.