Patriots

2018 Patriots positional snapshot: O-line was a strength, and should remain that way going forward

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(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

With the Patriots’ 2018 season done, we’re going to take a look back at the team by position, and provide a few thoughts as to what they might need at that spot moving forward. On Monday, we had wide receivers and running backs. Now, it’s on to the tight ends and offensive line:

2018 depth chart: LT Trent Brown, LG Joe Thuney, C David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, RT Marcus Cannon, OT LaAdrian Waddle, G/C Ted Karras, OL James Ferentz.

Contract status: Brown (free agent), Thuney (signed through 2019), Andrews (signed through 2020), Mason (signed through 2023), Cannon (signed through 2021), Waddle (free agent), Karras (signed through 2019), Ferentz (signed through 2019).

Overview: This group dominated down the stretch and into the postseason, giving Brady enough time to throw for nearly 700 yards combined in the first two postseason games and clearing enough of a path for the Patriots to average nearly 160 yards rushing down the stretch and into the playoffs. In the postseason, Brady was sacked just once, and a group that had been dogged by a rash of false starts and holding calls in road games late in the year righted the ship and finished strong. Some of it had to do with exploiting some really light defensive fronts and some it had to do with an ability to exploit some mismatches. But all in all, it was a really impressive run for Dante Scarnecchia’s group, which played smart, physical football at the most important time of year.

[caption id="attachment_485317" align="alignnone" width="1600"] Plenty of defensive coaches are leaving this offseason, but veteran offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia says he'll be back in 2019. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)[/caption]

By the numbers: 3 - The number of snaps the starting offensive line missed in the playoffs as a group. The five went wire-to-wire in the Super Bowl and AFC title game, and only Mason missed thee snaps in the divisional round against the Chargers. The consistency and continuity built by the five over the course of the year — New England had just four different starting combinations along the offensive line in 2018 — was a big part of their success.

A few thoughts about the position moving forward: