Offensive line talk isn't fun. It isn't sexy. It isn't compelling. But it's necessary.
As New England gets ready for its season opener in Miami, the feeling in Patriot Nation is euphoric. Gronk is a go, the defense is better, and all's right with the Pats.
Well, not entirely. The offensive line is a major concern. Well, maybe "major concern" is an overstatement, but -- at the very least -- you have to say it's a question mark.
As you know, the O line’s fearless leader, Dante Scarnecchia, retired and Dave DeGuglielmo was hired to replace him. Googs is well-liked and highly respected, but this is still his first year with this team. Certainly, there'll be a learning curve for this coach and his players. It is only natural.
Now let’s get to the players.
Even before Logan Mankins was traded to Tampa Bay, I had concerns about the line. Love Logan, but he struggled last year. Father time always wins.
But my concerns go beyond Mankins. I wonder if Nate Solder is mean enough. Sebastian Vollmer has trouble staying healthy. Everyone else is unproven . . . at best.
Vollmer, currently healthy, may take Logan’s spot at left guard. Some view this as a desperate move but, honestly, who says Vollmer -- three years younger than Mankins -- can’t play better than Logan did last year? Googs and Bill Belichick are putting their two best linemen on the left to protect Brady’s blind side. This is the best move they could make.
Will it be enough? I don’t know.
I long for the good old days. But Matt Light, a younger Mankins, Dan Koppen and Stephen Neal are not walking through that door.
So we wait. We wait to see how many times Brady gets knock around on Sunday. That’s all we can do.
Hopefully next week there'll be no need for offensive line talk.