Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia offered a passionate defense of young tackles Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon on Wednesday, saying that “all young tackles struggle on plays and protections in this league” while talking about the second-year Solder, who has taken over at the left tackle spot for Matt Light, who retired following the 2011 season.
“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 recalled the rookie year of Matt Light, who replaced four-time All Pro Bruce Armstrong in 2001.
“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.
“Personally, I’m really pleased with the way they’re developing,” he said of the offensive line. “Is it the finished product? No. And we got a couple more weeks to get it to as good as it can be and then we’re going to play. We’re going to play a game. Nate started for us at right tackle last year. Marcus (Cannon) played some and it is what it is. We’ll put our best players on the field and we expect nothing but their best.”
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