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Up-tempo leaves O’Brien up-beat in Foxboro

08.10.10 at 4:55 pm ET
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FOXBORO — There’s been plenty of talk about the uncertainty of the Patriots offensive line, with the holdout of Logan  Mankins and the suspected back injury to his would-be back-up Nick Kaczur.

But don’t think for a second that just because Dan Connolly and others are going to be rotated in and out to see who is most comfortable there will worry or even depress the spirit of Patriots quarterbacks coach and last year’s oft-embattled play-caller Bill O’Brien.

The 40-year-old is too busy coaching up Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer and Zac Robinson to be worried about what others are thinking on the outside and who will be protecting Brady on the inside. He thinks O-line coach Dante Scarnecchia will do his job while O’Brien takes care of his own.

“Scar does a great job of training a lot of different people at a lot of different positions,” O’Brien said. “I think all these guys have been very flexible in the positions that they’ve played. We have a bunch of guys who’ve played guard, bunch of guys who’ve played center and they’re trying to improve every day as we are as a unit.”

Then there’s that little matter of his role in 2010 as opposed to 2009. How will he adjust to coaching the quarterbacks and play-calling again this season? Does he think the spotlight is on him after what happened last year?

“I think I’m more comfortable,” O’Brien said. “I think it’s just like anything else, every year you do something, you’re a little bit more comfortable coaching the quarterbacks like I am again this year. I’ve always been vocal. I like to communicate with the players. I really believe in getting my point across not in a whispering way. I’m not in a library out here. We’re on the football field and I like to make sure the guys know exactly what we expect and they communicate with me. There’s a lot of good give and take and a lot of respect on both sides. It’s the way I coach.”

[Click here to listen to Bill O’Brien’s philosophy on coaching the Pats offense.]

The Patriots and Saints completed their first day of controlled workouts and scrimmages against each other on the practice fields outside Gillette Stadium on Tuesday. The two teams will have a single workout on Wednesday morning before playing each other in the preseason opener for both on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

“When you have another team come in here, after you’ve hit each other for 20 practices, having another team come in here [is good],” O’Brien said. “We have to go in and watch the film and see how it went but I thought the tempo was good and got out of it what we wanted to get out of it.

“I’m sure there were some things we can correct. We saw some good execution in the passing game, saw some good execution in the running game and now we just have to work to correct the things that weren’t executed well.”

The two teams worked in 1-on-1 drills and some controlled game situations, vital in providing film for coaches to study to look for areas of weakness and strength that wouldn’t otherwise show during a typical intrasquad
practice during camp.

“I think what’s pretty neat about this deal is you’re not really sure what they’re going to do, it’s preseason,” O’Brien said. “They’re not really sure what we’re going to do. We’ll have to see what the film looked like.”

“For me, the overall execution of the offense is what’s really important. Coming together as a team, this was the first time we were really on the same sideline with each other and not going against each other, supporting the defense, supporting the special teams.”

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