BOSTON (CBS) – After allowing 40 sacks in 2013 (the second most of Tom Brady’s career), Patriots fans were hoping 2014 would be a better year for the offensive line unit in protecting the 37-year-old.

Well, after hitting the dirt four times via the sack Sunday in Miami, and countless quarterback pressures and hits, it doesn’t look like — on the onset, anyway — that 2014 will be any better than the year prior. Not to mention the team said goodbye to All Pro left guard Logan Mankins right before the start of the season.

The line needs to improve, and in year’s past fans could always count on longtime assistant Dante Scarnecchia to turn it around. New England’s first-year o-line coach Dave DeGuglielmo needs to figure it out and do so quickly, or we’ll be stuck watching Jimmy Garoppolo instead of TB12 much sooner than expected.

Is the offensive line in trouble? To answer that question, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich had on two former Patriots to weigh in: Matt Light and Dan Koppen.

Matt Light On The Absence Of Logan Mankins & The Pats Decision To Release Him:

“[His leadership] is something that you can’t replace overnight. They’re gonna have a tough time with that. They’ve got some young guys on the offensive line. It’s tough on everybody. The lack of his presence is going to be felt throughout the season.

“I don’t make those decisions. I don’t ever want to make those decisions. But was it the wrong one in my mind? Yeah. I think there’s a lot of people in New England that would echo that. I didn’t like it. But if it pays off for them in the long run and it’s the best thing for the team, I guess you’ve got to believe in that, right?”

Matt Light On Making Snapshot Judgments:

“They’re going to figure it out. This isn’t DEFCON-5. It’s Week 1. You can’t say you know the Broncos are going to the AFC Championship Game, or that Seattle is going to win it all. I don’t jump to those conclusions like other people do. It’s Week 1.”

Matt Light On The Change In Offensive Line Coaches:

“It’s difficult. You not only have to get ready for the season, but get ready for a whole new way of doing it. It’s uncomfortable. It’s not the way the old guy did it. As tough as an environment as Dante ran there, you knew what you had coming and what to expect. Those aren’t easy things to adjust to. That’s definitely playing a part of it as well.”

Matt Light also expressed his distaste for the way in which the Patriots rotated the lineman against the Dolphins.

Listen below for the full interview, including information on Matt’s charity event coming up:

In the 8 o’clock hour, Toucher & Rich welcomed in Dan Koppen.

Koppen On The Offensive Struggles:

“They’re just struggling up front. They’re struggling to find a running game, which makes it harder for the passing game. They’re struggling in the protection. Julian Edelman, who’s Tom’s security blanket, we saw him disappear in the second half. This offense needs to get rolling, get those quick throws out and keep moving the chains to get the defense tired. What the Dolphins defensive line did to the Patriots is concerning to me.”

Koppen On The Absence Of Dante Scarnecchia:

“I think [his absence] is a huge part [of the struggles]. He knew these guys. He knew what they were good at and knew what they could do. He was a very good coach. I don’t know the new coach, so I can’t really speak about him. We all knew that Scar, no matter who was in there, whether they were playing for a guy who just got cut, traded, released or left in free agency, we knew those backups were ready to play and there’s confidence in them. I can’t say the same things for this new coach.”

Koppen On The Patriots Rotating Lineman vs. Miami:

They need to gel together and play more consistently together and get more comfortable with one another. We saw a rotation in there on Sunday, and I can’t remember the last time that I’ve seen a starting offensive line rotate throughout the game. Those five guys up front, they don’t come out of the game. They don’t rotate. There’s a flow of the game that you need to get used to. The fact that you’re coming out every two series, that tells me they’re still trying to find their best five guys.”

Koppen also touched on Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola and if they’re up to speed yet, as well as the inaccuracy of TB12 and if it can be attributed to age.

Listen below for the full interview:


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