New England Patriots Links 8/23/12 - Scarnecchia Holds Up The Line

Dante Scarnecchia sees improvement from Nate Solder and reminds us Matt Light had problems when he replaced Bruce Armstrong.

Karen Guregian reports Dante Scarnecchia defends his linemen. Scarnecchia knows people are panicked about tackles Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon, but he's not worried.

"There’s no cliff I’m throwing myself off right now. I’m telling you the truth," Scarnecchia said yesterday when asked about the state of his offensive line. "I look at it, believe it or not, that the glass is half full and filling up. That’s just how I see it. With every position, all I ask is their best. They’re giving it to us. We will improve."

"Is it the finished product? No," Scarnecchia said. "We have a couple more weeks to get it as good as it can be, and then we’re going to play games."

Karen Guregian tracks RB Jeff Demps transition to the NFL. Demps shows some rust and fatigue, but RB coach Ivan Fears is still pretty impressed.

"That’s probably going to be the toughest part, just getting back into that football shape," Demps said.

"Skill guys can play a lot faster than big guys can," Fears said. "For him, it’s mostly just getting his feet up under him, getting a little wind back in his lungs, and getting used to catching the ball. I’m sure it won’t take that long for a guy like him. He’s such a great athlete, just based on what I’ve seen on film."

Kerry J. Byrne (SI) Did the Patriots land the defensive playmakers they need to win another Super Bowl?

New England's formula for winning Super Bowls was rock solid: pair a meat-and-potatoes but highly efficient offense with a ball-hawking opportunistic defense that repeatedly made big plays in big games. It wasn't pretty or glamorous. But it yielded three Super Bowl victories in four years. The Patriots since 2007 have been very glamorous, setting offensive records of one kind or another almost every season. But their prettier style of football has fielded zero Super Bowl victories, including two crushing defeats in the big game itself in which the offense failed to show. The missing element has been those game-changing defenders making big plays in critical moments, while handing the offense easy points. So the Patriots this year went all in on defense in the draft, grabbing stoppers with the first six of seven total picks. The group was led by first-round selections Chandler Jones, a pass rushing specialist defensive end, and Dont'a Hightower, a multi-purpose linebacker. Jones has shown signs of game-changing pass rush capabilities so far in the preseason. If he and one or two other young defenders prove home-run picks, it should be all New England needs to relive its Super Bowl-winning glory days.

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