Dante Scarnecchia, the venerable New England assistant head coach/offensive line, could have his work cut out for him in 2012.
Left tackle Matt Light has retired after 11 seasons and will be
replaced by second-year veteran and former first-rounder Nate Solder.
The incumbent right tackle, Sebastian Vollmer, continued to be bothered
in the offseason by a bad back that has plagued him much of his career.
The four other tackles on the current roster have combined for only
seven games, with zero starts.No one should be surprised if free agent
addition Robert Gallery, the eight-year veteran who began his career at
tackle as the No. 2 overall pick in the draft in 2004, before moving to
guard, gets some snaps at tackle in camp.
The situation isn't a whole lot better at guard. Perennial Pro Bowl
left guard Logan Mankins figures to start the year on the physically
unable to perform list, after sustaining an ACL injury in the AFC
championship game. Right guard Brian Waters hasn't participated in
offseason workouts, and while the Pats are publicly confident he will
play in 2012, privately they aren't as certain. If Gallery is forced to
play at tackle, it takes some of the depth away from the guard spot,
where the team recently added veteran free agent Jamey Richard (11
It could be that the loser of the Dan Connolly/Dan Koppen competition
at center ends up playing some at guard. Tom Brady absorbed 32 sacks in
2011, the most he has suffered since 2003, so the blocking unit already
had some concerns,
Dante Has A Big Challenge Ahead
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