Every time Dante Scarnecchia has tuned right into a Patriots sport lately, he’s come away with a smile.
Even in retirement, the Patriots legendary coach and former offensive line guru nonetheless retains tabs on the group. Catching up with him Tuesday afternoon, he couldn’t have sounded happier with how issues have been continuing 4 video games into the season.
And why not?
The offensive line, Scar’s main focus throughout three-plus a long time with the group, has been a energy, regardless of how a lot juggling his successors — Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo — have been compelled to do given accidents to starters David Andrews and Shaq Mason.
The operating sport, backed by the road, can be close to the highest of the league, averaging roughly 180 yards per sport and 5.1 yards per carry.
And, having a cellular quarterback has opened up a world of latest potentialities for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels by way of producing offense.
Scarnecchia has loved watching the transition, and believes the Patriots will likely be a group to be reckoned with because of Cam Newton, and the evolution of the offense.
Extra to the purpose, if Newton can keep wholesome, Scarnecchia says the remainder of the league higher be careful.
“To Cam’s credit score and his skillset, it appears to be that he’s being very sensible not attempting to run by means of defenders, sliding once you gotta slide and getting out of bounds when it’s a must to get out of bounds,” stated Scarnecchia. “I believe it’s an vital a part of the equation, as a result of they want him, and he’s received to remain on the market. If he does, they will beat anyone.”
Wow. That’s a fairly sturdy evaluation coming from a person who has by no means been one to arbitrarily toss out bouquets or overstate a case.
Scarnecchia has at all times been a straight shooter, telling it like it’s. And after watching the primary 4 video games, he can’t assist however see the potential and the chances for his former group.
“I believe the quarterback has helped an ideal take care of his mobility, and the best way they’re operating the ball is unbelievable,” boasted Scar. “Averaging 180 yards a sport is extraordinary. They’ve completed an ideal job. They’re definitely a really succesful group.”
Naturally, with the offense, every thing begins up entrance. Whether or not defending Newton, or opening holes for the backs, the play of the offensive line has been key.
Scarnecchia praised Popovich and Bricillo for with the ability to adapt and give you options for the losses of Andrews (damaged thumb), Mason (calf), and Marcus Cannon (opt-out) at the beginning of the season.
So far, the juggling act has labored.
“I simply assume (adapting) is a giant a part of the job. To their credit score, they’ve saved it going,” Scarnecchia stated of the duo who’ve changed him. “You’ve received two decisions once you’re confronted with issues like shedding David, or having Marcus (Cannon) decide out.
“You may sit there and wring your fingers up, and say, ‘Woe is me,’ or you can begin fixing issues, they usually’ve chosen to unravel issues,” he went on. “I believe that’s one trait you completely must have on this career. You may’t let the lows, and what quantities to disappointment dwell. You simply gotta sort things and hold going. They usually’ve clearly completed that.”
A part of the problem-solving has been inserting rookie Michael Onwenu to fill-in at each guard positions. It’s additionally been sliding Joe Thuney over to middle, in addition to using James Ferentz. Having rookie Justin Herron fill in for Jermaine Eluemenor at occasions at proper sort out has been one other transfer to maintain issues afloat.
Was Scarnecchia stunned by any of the strikes?
“These guys have completed a great job. And, there’s no shock about Joe enjoying middle,” Scarnecchia stated of Thuney. “We at all times thought that may be a risk.”
In hindsight, having Thuney transfer over to middle might need been a greater possibility final season when Andrews was misplaced for the yr. Backup lineman Ted Karras did an honest job, however Thuney might need been a more practical alternative by way of the run sport.
A yr later, Popovich and Bricillo haven’t been afraid to maneuver Thuney. Additionally they have higher depth throughout the road, given how properly the rookies have performed. Scarnecchia additionally has a fairly good beat on the children, given he evaluated greater than 50 prospects for the Patriots previous to formally retiring.
So he is aware of all about sixth-round draft picks Onwenu (Michigan) and Justin Herron (Wake Forest).
With respect to the previous, Scar beloved what he noticed of Large Mike on tape.
“I by no means met the child. As a result of every thing was shut down, you couldn’t exit to see (prospects). However I believe (Popovich and Bricillo) have been capable of go to with him personally, on the final day the constructing was open,” Scarnecchia stated of Onwenu. “I do know they favored him, and I favored him, too. So it was good to see him get drafted by the group. That was an ideal alternative. It’s labored out good. He’s a extremely good participant.”
Retirement, the second time round, has additionally labored out properly for Scarnecchia, who’s having fun with his grandkids and the golf course. Requested about having excellent timing, given all that’s gone on with COVID-19 — with Newton, Stephon Gilmore, Byron Cowart and Invoice Murray testing optimistic — Scarnecchia acknowledged it wouldn’t have been a lot enjoyable teaching in this sort of atmosphere.
“The choice was a straightforward choice for me. I’m glad I made it. I used to be glad then, and I’m glad now that I made it,” he stated. “It is a powerful atmosphere the gamers are working in, and enjoying in. I believe it might be a troublesome problem.”
Scarnecchia revealed that his 97-year-old mom had COVID-19 throughout the spring, however had miraculously recovered.
“We took her to the hospital, and thought that was it, she ain’t popping out,” stated Scarnecchia. “However 4 days later, she got here out. It was actually wonderful.”
Despite the fact that he acknowledged the video games have been more durable to look at with out the fan factor concerned, Scarnecchia has clearly taken pleasure out of the efficiency of the offense.
In the course of the name, he consistently raved about Newton and the group’s capability to run the soccer behind the offensive line.
“They’re hitting on a variety of cylinders operating the soccer and doing an ideal job passing it, too,” he stated. “They’ve a great group. It’s all good, I’m happy.”