Nate Solder congratulates Shane Vereen after a 4th quarter TD against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.
"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."
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.
- Andy Hart and Paul Perillo debate which running back will eventually emerge as the team's leading rusher.
- Patriots Today - Branch chats with fans at The Hall. (2.28 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Mayo helps lead the way. (1.54 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Kettani presents painting to Kraft. (2.07 min. video)
- Jeff Howe notes the Patriots are gearing up for minicamp. The team can conduct physicals Monday, can practice Tues-Thurs, and Friday is a mandatory day off.
- Mike Reiss offers some quick-hit weekend thoughts from the Patriots and around the NFL.
- Field Yates wonders whether Brian Waters will be a participant in this week's mandatory minicamp.
- Jeff Howe calls Rob Gronkowski's deal a win-win.
- Karen Guregian applauds the proactive approach the Patriots took with Gronkowski's contract.
- Mike Rodak offers his initial reaction to the Patriots extension of Rob Gronkowski.
- Tom E. Curran explains Rob Gronkowski may have sacrificed a bigger payday down the road in order to have more security now.
- Mike Rodak tells us why the Patriots would offer Gronkowski a new deal now, and why he agreed to it.
- Mark Farinella concedes it's a smart move to lock up Rob Gronkowski to a long-term contract, that's more economically sound than it looks.
- Mike Rodak breaks down Gronkowski's extension yearly.
- Ian Rapoport reports Cowboys TE Jason Witten says Rob Gronkowski is "very deserving" of his new deal.
- Field Yates wonders about who's next in line for a new deal.
- Jeff Howe thinks Aaron Hernandez' contract situation will begin to command more of the spotlight.
- Jeff Howe highlights some important contract situations for players whose deals expire after the 2012 season.
- Jeff Howe notes how Gronkowski's deal might actually benefit Wes Welker.
- Christopher Price takes a closer look at some of the Patriots biggest rivals to size up the competition: Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos.
- Field Yates notes that former NFL scout Gary Horton, who writes for Scouts, Inc, listed Nate Solder as a breakout player in 2012.
- Jen Slothower feels the Patriots showed loyalty and foresight in locking up Rob Gronkowski, and showed wisdom amid decency in getting rid of Chad Ochocinco.
- Jim Donaldson believes that in the end, Brady couldn't count on Chad Ochocinco.
- Shalise Manza Young reports Shane Vereen is looking forward to his second season.
- Erik Frenz catches up with Stephen Gostkowski, who says he feels good after a 'normal' offseason. Last year he was rehabbing a quad injury.
- Field Yates details some highlights from the ZoliOke event last weekend.
- Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa report Rob Gronkowski steals the show at 'ZoliOke' benefit, belting out LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know it" and Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice Baby".
- Field Yates notes the price of a single ticket to a Pats home game is the most expensive on the secondary market in all four major professional sports.
- Sean Peick reports Tom Brady and Robert Kraft attended broadcaster Jim Nantz' wedding on Saturday.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Pats made Gronkowski an offer he couldn't refuse.
- Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) No contract negotiations for Aaron Hernandez, Patriots.
- John Clayton (ESPN) How Gronk's deal affects Welker. (1 min. video)
- Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Chad Ochocinco's inability to learn the offense a consistent offense.
- Josh Katzowitz (CBS Sports) Ochocinco's offensive problems didn't necessarily begin with Pats.
- Peter King (SI) MMQB: Goodell focused on helping players during and after their careers.
- Dan Pompei (Nat'l Football Post) Sunday Blitz: All the latest NFL chatter.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) League, NFLPA need clear standards, fair procedures for OTA violations.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) New CBA makes skipping mandatory minicamp much more expensive.
- Gregg Rosenthal (NFL.com) Gronkowski leads list of top 10 tight ends. Hernandez on the list too.
- Greg Gabriel (Nat'l Football Post) AFC breakout teams.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Whatever happened to June 1 free agency?
- Mike Freeman (CBS Sports) NFL to remind all employees this is dangerous time for DUI offenses.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFLPA directs agents to retain evidence of 2010 contract negotiations.