Patriots continue their Week 1 dominance

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Patriots continue their Week 1 dominance

File this under Stats That Mean Nothing: With yesterdays victory in Nashville, the Patriots have won nine straight Week 1 match-ups.

It all started in September of 2004, when Mike Vanderjagt went Scott Norwood at Gillette. The next year, the Pats took down Randy Gene and the Raiders. The year after that, they needed a late-game safety to squeak by the Bills.

In 2007, they destroyed the Jets. In 2008, they beat the Chiefs on an afternoon that defined bittersweet. It was the Bills again in 2009, the Bengals in 2010 and, last year, the Pats jump-started their run to the Super Bowl by embarrassing the Dolphins on Monday Night Football.

Of course, as earlier stated, it really doesnt matter. Around these parts, we know better than to get too hopped up on anything we see in Week 1.

Today, Stevan Ridleys a hero, the kid whos ready to revolutionize the Pats offense. However, one big fumble next week against Arizona, or two weeks from now in Baltimore or at any point over the next few months, and its Panic at the Disco. You can already hear the callers on Felger and Mazz: They cant count on this guy, fellas . . . bring back Sammy Morris!

Today, Wes Welkers the forgotten man. Hes splitting snaps with Julian Edelman. Hes no longer integral to the offense. Over the next five months, his value will diminish so abruptly that hell be begging the Pats to slap him with another franchise tag.

Or, maybe it was just one bad game.

Hell, maybe he wasnt feeling well? Whatever it is, heres a question: Would you bet your next paycheck against Welker having another 100-catch season? Would it absolutely blow your mind if he rips off nine catches for 90 yards and a TD next week? Seriously. If the Pats planned on simply phasing No. 83 out this year, why even franchise him? Dont you think Belichick could have come up with a few better ways to spend 9.5M?

Today, the rag tag offensive line that could do no right in the pre-season and nearly cost Tom Brady his nose in yesterday's first quarter might not be so bad. According to Greg Bedard at the Globe, Brady was only hit three times all game, and was hurried only five times on top of that. Today, the notion that the Pats are screwed without Brian Waters has been replaced by: "Waters? Who needs him!?"

But we all know that it only takes one hit in one game to change the entire narrative. That the entire offensive line is perpetually one play away from being remembered as a failure. Regardless of how unfair that might be.

OK, you get it. When it comes to Week 1 of the NFL season, nothing is real. Its the prologue to an 800-page novel, the opening credits in a four-hour action film and any grand statement made in its aftermath will likely leave you feeling stupid.

At the end of the day, you can only hope for two things:

1. No major injuries.

2. A win and even that's taken with a grain of salt the size of Vince Wilforks belly button.

But of course, it beats the alternative. And for the ninth straight year, the Pats have done just that. Save for 2008, when Brady's injury left all of New England paralyzed by depression, they've emerged from the NFL's opening weekend on the right foot, with no ceiling on what they can achieve. The sky's the limit, and even that feels a little restrictive.

Then again, the jury's still out on how crazy that last line will look come January.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots OL coach Scarnecchia feels refreshed after two-year retirement

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Patriots OL coach Scarnecchia feels refreshed after two-year retirement

FOXBORO -- Dante Scarnecchia wasn't looking to get back into coaching. He wasn't sitting at home for the last two years, living and dying with each Patriots offensive snap as though he was still the team's offensive line coach. 

He was spending time with his wife and his grandchildren. He was traveling. He was going to bed early. He was retired, and he was loving it. 

But he got a call over the winter, soon after the Patriots lost the AFC title game to the Broncos, asking if he would return to his old job at One Patriot Place. He discussed it with his wife for more than a week before coming to the conclusion that he'd make his return. 

The team announced that Scarnecchia had been re-hired, replacing Dave DeGuglielmo, in March.

"It is a tough decision because you become very used to a very nice lifestyle," he said on Monday. "I like retirement, now. Retirement was great. A lot of fun. We saw things we hadn't seen ever. Took trips, spent a lot of time with our grandkids. All that was great. To a degree, it's very, very hard to give up.

"We talked about it, my wife and I, and we decided this would be a good thing on a lot of different levels, as far as the grandkids being able to come to the games for free and just be a part of it all. And I like coaching football. I love coaching football. I didn't retire because I didn't like coaching football. I retired because I got tired of the lifestyle. Two years off, I'm OK."

Scarnecchia was clear: He wasn't getting back into it if any other team came calling. 

"I think the No. 1 thing is, if you decide to go back into coaching, you're kind of at the mercy of the business. That is to say, who's going to hire you and where are you going to go? What makes it unique here is everything is the same. That really makes it easy.

"Honestly, I probably would not have gotten back into coaching had I had to go somewhere else. Because I was going by myself. [My wife] ain't going. Let's get that straight. I can't leave my kids and my grandkids. I'm not doing that."

Though he feels good, feels refreshed, Scarnecchia has been reminded very quickly of what the job entails. During one of his first days back on the job, the Patriots held a 14-hour personnel meeting. 

That part of the yearly routine, he did not miss. 

"It wasn't like I was sitting at home thinking, 'Boy, I wish I was there and I wish I could do this.' It wasn't any of that," Scarnecchia said. "I know what the job entails. Yeah it's fun being out on the field, it's fun being in the meeting rooms, it's fun being a part of the whole situation, but you know, the hours are long, the days are long. It's a tough business, it's a really tough business, and I was willing to step back into it despite all that."

Scarnecchia will have a few familiar faces in the offensive line meetings that take place during Phase Two of the offseason program, including Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer and Josh Kline. Most of the others, though, have been added to the team since Scarnecchia retired following the 2013 season. Centers Bryan Stork and David Andrews, as well as guards Tre' Jackson and Shaq Mason will all have to adapt to a new voice. 

Scarnecchia explained, however, that the system is still the same as it ever was under DeGuglielmo. And even though he's been gone for two years, the game itself -- and offensive line play in particular -- is as it always was.

"The game's pretty much the same," he said. "Get off the ball. Hit him. Do a great job of setting. Put yourself between the launch point and them, with inside out leverage . . . . We ain't building rockets."

McDaniels on Pats QBs: 'There's no [learning] curve for any of them'

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McDaniels on Pats QBs: 'There's no [learning] curve for any of them'

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels lumped all Patriots quarterbacks together when asked to discuss Jimmy Garoppolo’s readiness to be the New England starter during Tom Brady’s suspension.  

“There’s no curve for any one of them,” said McDaniels Monday during an open-access period with the team’s assistant coaches. “They’re learning the same material, they’re going over the same stuff. Our expectation is, if you’re in the quarterback room, you’re learning what the quarterbacks need to know to play well in this offense. The expectations are high in that room and every other room.”

Asked if, entering his third season, Garoppolo was at a decent level of competency, McDaniels replied, “Year one is such a hard year for any rookie because it seems like you’re never caught up. You’re always learning something. Year two, you feel like you’ve got a foundation, a starting point but you’re still trying to gain on everybody else. Year three, if the players continue to work and do their job in the offseason when they’re not here, you hope that they close that gap and they can go out there and play fast and not think much. It’s too early to say that about any third-year guy at the moment because we haven’t done anything that would give us a gauge on that but I’m excited for all those guys that are in their third year.”