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Matt Light on D&C: ‘I’m going into full fan mode right now’

Former Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light [1] checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to preview Sunday’s AFC championship game.

Light retired just eight months ago after spending his entire 10-year career with the Patriots and is in an unfamiliar position, now rooting as a fan.

“I’m going into full fan mode right now, something I’ve never been,” Light said. “Literally, throughout the regular season I think had the same mentality that a lot of those guys do. It was like, ‘OK, we’re in the grind. It’s week in, week out. There’s no daylight at the end of the tunnel. You’ve got your head down, you’re going to work each and every day and nothing’s good. It doesn’t matter if you win every single game and you blow them out by 30, you’re terrible, you’ve got to keep working.

“At this point you realize as a player that you’ve done something, you have an opportunity to do something really special. When it’s as close as it is right now, this is the reason you play the game 100 percent.”

This year’s Patriots offense [2] has been extremely impressive, notably in terms of the more balanced style between the passing and running game. The 2007 team was known for it’s deep threats like Randy Moss [3] and the record-shattering numbers registered by Tom Brady [4], but this year’s offense might be better.

“I think it’s definitely possible to be better than ’07 even though that was obviously an incredible year,” Light said. “I don’t know how you rate one year to another especially when you’re looking at the best. … What I think this year represents is this system that’s really evolved. It’s changed, it had obviously different coordinators. Whether it was Charlie [Weis], or Josh [McDaniels], previous Josh or this Josh, Billy O’Brien, this offense has really come full circle.

“It’s the guys in the system, namely the guy that does a pretty good job of throwing the ball around and commanding everybody in the huddle and all that good stuff. But so many talented players that make up part of it. And then they keep you off balance. They do not just do a few things well, they execute at a very high level and they can change the tempo. And all those things you guys talk about throughout the entire year, they do them all and they do them all pretty darn well.”

Following are more highlights from the interview.

On no-huddle offense: “The ability to run that, it literally comes down to who you have in the game. It’s so important that you have guys that can keep up with that and understand that. I think up front, even though there’s a few young guys up there, and obviously some wily veterans, they have a really good grasp. They’re very cerebral, they play with a lot of aggression and at the same time they’ve got a little bit of finesse. You’ve got to be able to have both of those things to do the hurry-up.”

“Then of course Tommy, when he’s doing these things, there’s a million things running through his head. He’s trying to communicate to the guys up front. He’s trying to get all the signals out to his receivers. He’s trying to use code words and he’s trying to give the snap count. I literally thought at times, ‘I don’t know how this guy can keep doing this, sustaining it through a drive and through a game the way he does.’ He’s incredible. And I think that when you’re up at the line of scrimmage there’s a lot of things you can call but after a while if you get in a rhythm with that no-huddle, you can pretty much call whatever you want. You can sneak a run in whenever you want. You’ve got them on the ropes when you run that kind of an offense and you run it well.”

On seeing intimidation from opponents: “I’m sure there’s a lot of locker rooms out there in the league that don’t have a whole lot of hope going into certain games. I can’t really relate to that. We obviously were highly competitive during my time here in New England. I know for a fact that [the Ravens are] carrying a lot for not just Ray [Lewis], but for that organization and that coaching staff. They’ve got it pretty much figured out as far as coming into a game, having a little bit of a swagger and understanding that, ‘Hey, look, at any point it can go any way.'”

On Ray Lewis [5]‘ impact: “Ray’s a highly respected player. You see it in the last two games. I think some of it is emotion. He’s a guy that’s just got unbelievable awareness and he’s going to be a part of it. He’s a much better option — even now at whatever it is, 17 or 100 years in the league, whatever it is — he’s better now than a lot of guys that are in that position. So there’s not anything lost within their organization when he’s on the field. It’s quite the opposite, he brings a ton to that defense and that team.”

On the Manti Te’o situation: “This one’s a little bit more than just awkward. This one takes it to a whole other level. Personally, I want to believe that this is just kind of what these youngsters do these days — they get in these awkward relationships that they don’t actually see people, it’s this video game world we all live in, nothing’s really real, he had one of these Internet relationships. ‘€¦ But man, it’s kind of hard to believe that you could have a relationship for three years and never meet the person. So I don’t know what to think. This is an awkward one.”

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page [6]. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots [7]. WEEI-FM 93.7 will broadcast the AFC championship game between the Patriots and Ravens on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.