Patriots Offensive Line Ranks Among the Worst in NFL


Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Through three games this season, the New England Patriots are 2-1. There are obviously many areas in need of improvement as it is still early, but the ineptitude of the offensive line looms large. Tom Brady was sacked twice on Sunday. He was hit on a six other plays and could be seen grimacing in pain at times. It all starts up front. Brady won’t be able to develop any chemistry with his receivers until he’s provided ample blocking.

“Obviously, it wasn’t very pretty on our side of the ball,” said guard Jordan Devey following Sunday’s 16-9 win over the Oakland Raiders.

The Patriots have endured some considerable change in the offensive line department since the conclusion of last season. Longtime line coach Dante Scarnecchia left the team, Pro-Bowl guard Logan Mankins was traded to Tampa Bay and the dominant Rob Gronkowski is still working his way back into form. Things are in flux up front. They haven’t had much time to develop chemistry. It has to click soon or Brady could be in for a world of hurt.

“It’s not good seeing your QB get hit. “That’s my guy. It’s tough seeing him take hits like that,” said receiver Julian Edelman when asked about the current state of affairs.

Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck mauled the Patriots line, registering one sack and three hits on Brady. He made Nate Solder look foolish. At least Solder admitted that they’ve played poorly as a group and must improve.

It’s not one guy, it’s not one play,” said Solder. “So it comes back down to our technique and things we know and need to improve on.”

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Solder and Sebastian Vollmer have been the only regulars getting steady time along the line at the tackle spots. Dan Connolly, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Fleming, Bryan Stork and Devey have all seen time along the interior of the line. They’ve all performed in shaky fashion. None of them have really stepped up to prove worthy of being a starter.

Week 1 was even worse for the offensive line. Brady was sacked four times, hit seven times and hurried 18 times by the Miami Dolphins.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Patriots offensive linemen, rank among the worst in the NFL.

Among 68 tackles who have played at least one snap this season, Vollmer ranks 25th and Solder ranks 65th. Among 70 guards, Cannon ranks 52nd and Devey ranks 68th. Connolly ranks 37th among 46 centers.

The statistics are even more atrocious when broken down in terms of pass blocking efficiency. Vollmer ranks 45th and Solder ranks 65th. Cannon ranks 52nd and Devey ranks 68th. Connolly ranks 43rd.

“We’re all trying to do the best we can,” added Devey.

The numbers don’t lie. The Patriots line is in terrible shape and is in desperate need of a drastic turnaround. They may be trying to do there best, but it’s clearly no where near enough. If things don’t turn around, their struggles will ultimately cost the team a potentially great season.