Patriots

What kind of player are the Patriots getting in Russell Bodine? The man who developed him breaks it down

Paul Alexander and Russel Bodine (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

New Patriots center Russell Bodine was hand-picked by former Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander as a fourth-round selection in 2014 and he coached Bodine all four seasons before both moved on after 2017. Bodine was part of a great Bengals offensive line — Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Zeitler, Clint Boling and Andrew Smith — I wrote about for Sports Illustrated in 2016 but Bodine was known as the weak link of that group.

I caught up with Alexander, who is a colleague of Patriots line coach Dante Scarnecchia (they did not talk prior to the trade — "That's not unusual with them," Alexander said), to discuss Bodine's strengths, weaknesses and how he'll fit into the Patriots' system and work with Tom Brady.

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General thoughts on Russ Bodine, your experience with him and how he’ll fit with Dante Scarnecchia and what the Patriots do?

I think he’s a perfect fit. Let me say this: he’s one of the toughest human beings I’ve ever been around. Personality-wise, he’s kind of like a Dirty Harry or John Wayne type of guy. Few words, strong backbone personality, decisive type. I think he’s a perfect personality for center. Sometimes he can be a bit abrasive because he’s so frank. But that’s what I liked in him most. He has incredible strength (he did 42 reps on the bench at the combine) and toughness and smarts, and he communicates well. And he does all that. I think he really fits in well with what they do. I think he’s a good pickup for them. He’s not really a wide-zone guy. He’s more of traditional, NFL-style blocky, big — he’s big for a center (6-3, 310) — and he already plays with the type of temperament and tenacity that the Patriots are really known for.

How will he be working with Tom Brady with protections and checks at the line?