FOXBORO – If it were up to Dante Scarnecchia, the Patriots' line of attack would be put sooner rather than later, but there are important factors that delay the process.
On the one hand, the line is about injuries. First choice Isaiah Wynn and new signing Trent Brown recover from shoulder injuries while Joe Thuney undergoes a foot surgery and Marcus Cannon returns from an ankle injury that prematurely ended his 2017 season.
All four are likely to be outside as the Patriots start OTAs and minicamps next month, Scaranecchia said, and it will be some time before the long-term offensive lineman can see his line in full strength.
The other factor remains the biggest challenge for Scarnecchia. So the team plans to replace the left tackle Nate Solder, who has left in the free agency to sign with the Giants. His loss certainly jeopardizes the continuity of the line, especially in his position where he was a rock since 201
"It's a big challenge to get into a really big comfort zone with him, and especially the way Nate played in the last half of the season," said Scarnecchia. "He got this opportunity and he uses it for himself and his family, so we need to replace him next, so we have people we hope can intervene there."
Scarnecchia said that Both Wynn and Brown will get the chance to stay in training camp left.
Wynn, a total of 23ers designed, has the versatility to play guard and tackle. As a senior, he was an All-American All-American and First-Team All-Star team when he started all 15 games in Georgia, including the national championship, at left tackle.
"He was a really good player in the The best conference in America on his position, and he played tackle left and he has been guard, that's what I like about him," said Scarnecchia. "Clever, he's tough as they come, he played with a bad shoulder all year, he has great qualities, we're looking for three qualities: Smart, tough and athletic enough to play the position, he has all three, well we'll see if that translates to this level. "
Brown played mostly in the right tackle during his career, but has experience on the left. He's listed at 355 pounds, but Scarnecchia mentioned him at 380 and said he'll be the biggest lineman he's ever coached.
Scarnecchia likes what he has seen so far by Brown, who was won from San Francisco for a third round draft last month.
"He's attentive, wants to know what we're doing, a quiet guy, but that's fine," said Scarnecchia. "He listens to what's going on around him, can answer a lot of questions, so we just have to see how it works, but unfortunately we will not be able to see it until we go to training camp with him and Isaiah."
Scarnecchia expects the inside of the line to stay the same, with Thuney at the left guard, David Andrews in the middle, and Shaq Maurer at the right guard. He wants to keep Cannon at the right rigging.
Antonio Garcia, third in the third round, should be in the left attack, but he was released yesterday, according to an ESPN report. With Wynn, Brown, Thuney and Cannon for OTAs and minicamps, players like LaAdrian Waddle, Ulrick John and Cole Croston will have a chance to compete and show off what they have.
And Scarnecchia made it clear that he likes this group.
"I really like the people we have here, that's the good news," Scarnecchia said. "The bad news is that we can not work with some of them until the training camp starts, because we have two boys with shoulders, one guy with a bad foot, and on and on and on, but that's the hand that When the training camp comes, they'll all be out there and I'm really excited to be working with these guys, I want to make that clear to all, we have the guys we have, and I'm happy with that
"I do not know what it will look like, but I'm really happy with it, because I like the way they work, I like the people, I think they'll do everything we ask of them, and that's all that matters to me. And then we'll see what we can do from there, so we'll find out. "