Matt Light understands the Patriots’ tackle situation, whatever it may be
|08.13.11 at 5:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light returned to the practice field after coming off the physically unable to perform list Saturday, and afterward had the opportunity to explain the communication he had with Bill Belichick prior to inking his two-year-deal on July 31.
The Patriots’ coach noted Saturday morning that he had discussed the team’s tackle situation — the Pats drafted Colorado tackle Nate Solder 17th overall and have All-Pro right tackle Sebastian Vollmer — with Light, and that the two came to an understanding.
So what was said in this meeting?
“Most of it was transcendental meditation,” Light cracked, “and I can’t really get into a whole lot of that, but it was pretty deep. [Transcendental meditation founder] Maharashi Mehesh Yogi ‘¦ it’s pretty deep.”
Taking a more serious tone, Light reflected on what it was like knowing the team that had spent a first-round pick on his eventual replacement wanted him to stick around.
“Like anything else, you go through a process,” Light said. “That time in any guy’s career is one where you’ve got to make some serious decisions. You’ve got to understand both sides’ expectations. Look, Bill’s always been straightforward. He kind of says it like it is, and he doesn’t hold anything back. I know what his expectations of me, and vice versa, so we’re all good.”
Given that Light was on the PUP list for the preseason opener, the 10-year veteran watched Solder start at left tackle in his place. Solder, a 6-foot-8 former tight-end, a very encouraging preseason debut, playing the first 10 offensive drives of the team’s 47-12 win over the Jaguars.
“I obviously watch that position. Look, Nate’s a big guy. Physically gifted and hard to get around just due to his size,” Light said of Solder. “I think he’s shown really good footwork. He came in, he knew the system, he knew the offense, he’s a smart guy, so I think he played pretty well. Again, it’s not my job to rate him, but at the end of the day, I think he’s hanging pretty well with that first group.”
Coming out of college, Solder was viewed as a raw talent with big potential. As such, one could interpret Light’s return as a sign that Solder will ease his way into a starting role over time. The 33-year-old Light figures to be in his usual position protecting Tom Brady‘s blindside when the season opens, but he admitted Saturday that as he returns from offseason shoulder surgery these day, he’ll be taking it slow.
“Just try to make sure that I can go out there and get as much done without actually going through a lot of the physical end of this,” Light said of his plan now that he’s back on the field. “Unfortunately, I can’t just jump right back into it given what surgery I had in the offseason, so right now a lot of it’s mental, trying to keep the physical side of it going to what extent I can, and hopefully be out there going full tilt sooner than later.”