BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots offensive line has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in 2016 with the return of offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia – and they will be one of the Patriots’ keys to victory in Super Bowl LI. If they continue to play as well as they have for most of the season, the Atlanta Falcons defense will have great difficulty slowing down Tom Brady and the Patriots offense.
Former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand live from Radio Row in Houston to talk about the Super Bowl, and naturally, the conversation about the game centered on the performance of the offensive line. Light played in five Super Bowls with the Patriots and won three as Tom Brady’s left tackle, so he certainly knows what it takes to win on the biggest stage.
Although he admitted he might sound like a “homer,” Light believes that the Patriots cannot be beaten if the offensive line can physically dominate the line of scrimmage and give Brady time to throw, like they did for much of the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“If the [Patriots] offensive line goes out there and crushes this [Falcons] team – on the first level, second level, if they’re down there at the end of plays cleaning people off piles, doing all that kind of stuff – if it’s a dirty game, it’s a guaranteed win,” said Light.
He added that an unstoppable performance for the Patriots offensive line could lead to “the best offensive performance in Super Bowl history.”
Light is no casual observer when it comes to the Patriots offensive line. He has had a close eye on their improvement with Scarnecchia back – especially with right tackle Marcus Cannon, who was much maligned in his first five seasons with the Patriots but in 2016 transformed into a second-team All-Pro.
“On the outside, what Marcus Cannon has done this season is commendable,” said Light. “I had criticism for him in the last few years and I figured he’d been around long enough to figure it out. You bring back Dante Scarnecchia, bring back a tactician, a guy that doesn’t give anybody an inch, and you force him to do his job every second of every day, and he really matured.
“[Cannon] came a long way in that system and he knows the system now.”
Light also had high praise for the rest of the offensive line, including left tackle Nate Solder and center David Andrews. The show also couldn’t help but mention a funny story that Drew Brees told Toucher & Rich about his time with Light at Purdue University. Light told his side of the story.
Listen to the full podcast below: