The Patriots offensive line certainly was not a concern last season and I don’t see it being a primary concern this offseason. The only position that will be addressed should be the center position. Dan Koppen and his backup/utility man Dan Connolly will be free agents this offseason and although neither should be very expensive signings, both could potentially end up elsewhere. If healthy Koppen is certainly a quality center but there are certainly other options the Pats may consider. Connolly seems to be a great fit in the Patriots offensive line because of his versatility to play both guard positions as well as center. Heck, the guy can even return a kick when called upon. Most people, as well as myself saw Brian Waters as a one-year average fill in but after his pro-bowl season last year it looks like he will be back for another year. With Logan Mankins and Waters in the guard positions the Pats are as solid as it comes there. The tackle situation looks very promising as well. Matt Light looks like he still has some left in the tank and with the combination of Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder on the opposite side the Pats look pretty solid up front. The Patriots also have Marcus Cannon in the waiting, Cannon is a huge presence on the line standing at 6’5” and weighing 358. Overall the Patriots offensive line should be very solid. If Koppen walks and the Pats are not content with Connolly as their starting center they will definitely have a few possible options.
Jeff Saturday: Even with Saturday playing for the enemy for many years he still praised Patriots owner Bob Kraft and credited him by saying the lockout could not have ended without the help of Kraft. Saturday is a class act and a Patriots type of guy. Rumor has it Saturday is mulling retirement, but if he opts to remain in the league I would imagine he wouldn’t be a piece to the Colts rebuilding process. Saturday is a quality center and could be a solid fit for the Pats at a reasonably low-cost.
Matt Birk: A veteran center that could come in and be a leader on the offensive line at a low-cost.
It’s getting closer and closer, five days til’ the big day. Today we will take a look at what will likely win or lose the game for either team: Offensive Line
The Giants offensive line is very solid. They don’t possess too much of a running game and I’m sure that’s not the main focus of the Patriots defense. The Giants only allowed 28 sacks against this season. If the Giants O-Line can give Eli enough time to find his open receivers against the Patriots shaky secondary then they should be able to put some points on the board. Eli has great pocket presence and does well escaping the would-be tacklers in the backfield. (Note 2007 Tyree Catch). God I hate talking about that but when you think Eli escaping a tackle it instantly comes to mind. The Giants are solid in the middle with David Diehl and Chris Snee at the guard positions. If the tackles for the Giants O-Line can keep Anderson and Ninovich out of the backfield Eli should be all right.
Overall Grade: B
The Patriots have one of the most talented offensive lines in all of football. Although Brady was sacked 4 more times than Eli I still have the utmost confidence in this O-Line. Obviously this is a brutal matchup for them but if they can play up to task I don’t see the Giants pulling this one out. Both Guards made the Pro-Bowl; Matt Light isn’t to bad either. If Sebastian Vollmer is healthy enough to play I expect him to get more time out their than Rookie Nate Solder. Similar to the Giants, the Patriots run-game isn’t exactly something to be to scared about, but I think it is key that the Patriots use the run game to keep the QB hungry Giants D-Line on their toes. Like I’ve said before; this game will be won or lost in the trenches. I’m not saying the Patriots will be able to protect Brady as much as the Giants can protect Eli but that’s because of the immense talent on the Giants D-Line. Strictly talent wise; the Pat’s have the edge.