New England Patriots Links 6/11/12 - Andruzzi Praises Pats' O-Line

Nate Solder congratulates Shane Vereen after a 4th quarter TD against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.

Christopher Price notes Joe Andruzzi likes the look of the Patriots' offensive line.

"Not just on the offensive line, but there are a lot of new faces everywhere in the locker room," he said. "That being said, the aura around the offensive line is still there. These guys still know that regardless of whether you’re a veteran or a guy just getting here off the street, that this is a football team where you’re held accountable for everything you do, on and off the field. You always have to worry about doing your job and getting it right.

"I think across the board, these guys are hungry. A lot of the younger guys just want a chance, and they’ll do everything they can to make the most of that chance," he added. "Specifically, in regards to the offensive linemen, it’s a group of real hardworking guys. They’ve all been consistent through the offseason program. They’ve done a great job of sticking together — the guys usually stick together by position, and they all try and push each other. This is a group of real competitors."

"Dante is by far one of the best coaches in that staff," Andruzzi said of Scarnecchia, who will be entering his31st season in the league and his 13th straight year as New England’s offensive line coach. "You can give him five guys off the street and he’ll get them ready to play at a high level."

James Walker (ESPN) Nate Solder has a lot to prove in 2012.

What he has to prove: Solder has huge shoes to fill. He has to prove that he can replace a Patriots legend in Matt Light, who recently retired after a stellar career with New England. Light was a reliable force at left tackle protecting quarterback Tom Brady's blind side most of Brady's career. The change will put a huge spotlight on Solder. Left tackle is even more important now that Brady, 34, is getting near the tail end of his career. The Patriots drafted Solder in the first round in 2011 with this in mind. But perhaps Solder is taking on such a pivotal role a little earlier than expected.

Walker's 2012 outlook: I don't have as many concerns as others have about Solder. I thought he was composed and did a solid job filling in as a rookie for injured right tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Solder started in some big games and played well. The only concern I have is the added pressure of playing on the left side. Solder often will face an opponent’s best pass-rusher trying to cause turnovers by getting to Brady’s blindside. Solder is built like a left tackle and should eventually do well. But the Patriots have to hope he doesn’t have too many growing pains in his sophomore season.

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