So you've probably heard that the Patriots offensive line has struggled mightily in the first two preseason games, and that while most people expect that it will get straightened out in time for the regular season, there are legitimate concerns.
This has been a pretty consistent theme coming out of Patriots training camp this month. With veteran tackle Matt Light calling it a career this offseason, the assignment of protecting Tom Brady has fallen upon second year man Nate Solder.
Most outlets have chronicled the struggles of Solder and fellow second-year tackle Marcus Cannon in camp, some even going so far as to tally up "wins" (and of course "losses") in various drills held in camp.
On Monday night against the Eagles, Chris Price of WEEI.com wrote the following about a second quarter sequence - It was the unquestioned low point of the night for a Patriots’ offensive line that has already had a few of them this summer.
So things are pretty bad, huh?
It's always interesting to me to read the perspective of someone in the media, someone who has been watching the game for years, and obviously knows something about it, and to compare that with perhaps someone who played the game at this level and see the differences in how they view things.
Matt Chatham played eight seasons in the NFL, six of them with the Patriots. After his playing career, he's returned to Boston, opened a crepe shop, (really) and begun a media career, providing Patriots analysis on NESN and CSNNE, and recently, on Patriots Fridays on WEEI's Big Show.
This week, Chatham took to Twitter to declare that things aren't quite as bad as some would have you believe.
Re-reviewed 1st 1/2 game tape of 1st 2 gms: mute it, throw away media reports, & no way you come away w/ 'Pats OL is really strugglin.'— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) August 22, 2012
Both— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) August 22, 2012
#Pats tackles have had far more positive plays than negative, & on whole, have won majority of their individual matchups. Struggling!?
If "strugglin Pats blockers" narrative were 2 rightfully exist, it would be for the ST return units. Several Pats consistently losin 1-on-1— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) August 22, 2012
No need to look outside.Mankins is obv plus.Who knows with Vollmer, but idea that others r sorely needed isnt supported by tape IMO— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) August 23, 2012
Hmmm. That doesn't seem to jive with what we've been told. Chatham in fact encourages us to "throw away media reports" on this topic.
Chatham sounds pretty definitive on the topic. Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is equally adamant on the topic: "I think Nate Solder’s a better player today than he was all of last year. So you figure that out," Scarnecchia told reporters. "Next question."
Scarnecchia did relent a little when it came to expectations. He cited the last time the Patriots went through this type of change:
"I think all young tackles struggle on plays in protection in this league," Scarnecchia told reporters. "Just do a little thinking. Who did Matt Light replace? Bruce Armstrong. Did any of you think it would be easy? Did you think [Light] had any problems with it to start with? Well hell yeah, they all had problems. I mean, it is what it is.
There is acknowledgement there of struggles, but there doesn't seem to be much worry.
Could the whole thing be a little overblown?
C'mon, this is New England. There's no way that could happen!