Experience on Patriots offensive line making transition to Dave DeGuglielmo era easier
|08.11.14 at 6:50 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots took a major hit following last season when offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia retired after spending 32 seasons in the NFL, 30 of which coming with the Patriots. The organization brought in veteran offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo to replace Scarnecchia, but with the number of returning members of the offensive line, the transition has been made much easier.
New England returned its entire starting offensive line from the past two seasons, as well as backup Marcus Cannon, so the system Scarnecchia put into place has not been altered much.
“It’s not completely different,” said nine-year veteran Logan Mankins. “There are a lot of things that are the same, but there is some stuff that is different. Guys like myself that have done it for so long, it takes a little while to train your body to do it a different way.
“But we’re working on it, and a lot of guys are getting it.”
All nine of Mankins’ seasons in the NFL have been with the Patriots, and teaming up with other offensive line starters Dan Connolly (six seasons in New England), Ryan Wendell (five), Sebastian Vollmer (five), Nate Solder (three) and Cannon (three), the unit has a combined 31 years playing for Scarnecchia.
With the success of the Patriots offensive lines in the past, DeGuglielmo — a Lexington, Mass. native — knew coming in he wouldn’t change much of what was already put into place.
“The system is in place. It’s not like we’re reinventing anything here. I’m trying to teach the system,” DeGuglielmo said back on the second day of training camp. “I might use different coaching phrases, but it’s the same stuff. It’s the same technique, generally the same offense. I’m not changing anything, that’s for sure.”
After 14 practices and one preseason game, the grouping is still getting used to their new coach, but things are steadily moving in the right direction.
“Thankfully, [DeGuglielmo] is a good guy, and I think he cares about winning and cares about the team so it always makes it easier,” Mankins said.
With roughly three weeks before the season-opener in Miami and three more preseason games remaining, it’s still a work in progress. But the grouping finds themselves in much better shape than some other teams could be in if put in the same position.
Having 31 combined years of experience learning from one of the best offensive line coaches in the league and a new coach willing to build on what was already built, the group is in as good of shape as they can be at this point in training camp.
“I think so. He has done a good job of making everything clear on how he wants stuff,” Mankins said. “We are trying to satisfy that. It’s not always perfect right now – it hardly ever is – [but] we’re making strides in the right direction, I think. I know we’re trying to do it the way he wants — hopefully he sees how hard we’re working.”