Rarely heard Patriots assistant defends young blockers


Patriots assistant coaches rarely get a chance to talk.

But for up-and-down Pats left tackle Nate Solder, it was the perfect time for line coach Dante Scarnecchia to chime in.

Scarnecchia compared Solder’s early struggles to Matt Light’s first years on the job replacing Bruce Armstrong, a boost for the second-year tackle.

I think all young tackles struggle on plays and protections in this league,” Scarnecchia said, via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. “Just do a little thinking. Who did Matt Light replace?

“Did any of you think that it was going to be [easy]? Did you think he had any problems with it to start with? Well, hell ya. They all [have] problems. It was as painful as it could ever be [with Light]. Just like anything, he got better and became a really good player, ‘one that you can’t replace.’”

Scarnecchia then went onto to say he was actually encouraged by Solder’s progress, as well as that of the line as a whole.

“I think Nate Solder is a better player today than he was all of last year, so you figure that out. Next question,” he said. “Personally, I’m really pleased with the way [Solder and Marcus Cannon] are developing. Is it the finished product? No. We have a couple more weeks to get it as good as it can be, and then we’re going to play games. . . .

“There is no cliff I’m throwing myself off right now. I’m telling you the truth. That glass is half full and filling up. That’s just how I see it.”

At that point, Bill Belichick was seen loading tranquilizer darts into a gun pointed at Scarnecchia’s neck.

We’re joking.

We think.

8 responses to “Rarely heard Patriots assistant defends young blockers

  1. Scarnecchia wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true but Belichick may prefer opposing defenses assuming the tackles could be run over and through.

    So maybe he’ll use that dart gun after all.

  2. I’m sure he was at the end. I doubt he minded a little confidence building saying they’re doing better, but I think towards the end he started challenging opposing defenders a bit, which is something we all know BB just loves to hear….

  3. He spoke during the Super Bowl week, a couple of times during that week in fact. Seeing how they haven’t played a real game since the claim that it is rare for him to speak to the media is a generalization that is void of merit when applied to this coach and this team.

    Do you know who Coach Scarnecchia is and just how long he has been tendered with the Patriots? Since the 1980 season. He’s not just some JAG coach, he’s probably the most respected o-line coach in the NFL.

  4. Scarnecchia was the only position coach on the Patriots staff that Parcells kept when he went to New England. As far as his comments, they were actually in line with Belichick’s earlier comments about Solder and Cannon.

    That said there are some questions about the Pats O-line, but Brian Waters could be a big piece of the puzzle and even though he hasn’t been there yet he still has a locker in Gilette. Plusthe line should develop a bit more attitude once Mankins is out there.

  5. Funny…Riley Rieff is a rookie, and I’m seeing him make a quiet, efficient translation from college ball at Iowa to a productive offensive lineman for the Lions. Rieff not only has already shown he can play either tackle spot, but that he has the smarts to also play guard, if needed.

    It’s nice that Solder’s position coach has his back, but if the guy doesn’t have the playbook down by now…and a good map to the weight room…I’m thinking Matt Light is a real poor comparison.

  6. I adore Scar. He and Pep Johnson have been my two favorite Pats assistants forever. He’s a 60 something former Marine who runs with his guys too.

    Funny thing, talk is always about how Pitt’s OL needs to get better they have such an unsettled and underperforming group last year, etc. They were only one ahead of the Pats last year in OL combinations used (9 vs 8 I think). Scar had FOUR centers he had to prepare for starts last year alone. He’s the best.

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