If you listen to most of the local media and "some" of the people on this board, you'd think that the sky was virtually falling on our OL. Granted it is CERTAINLY not where it should be. But its neither as bad as its being reported nor is it surprising that it hasn't been a strong point for the team. Here is some evidence and reasons why I'm still optimistic 1. Granted the OL allowed too many pressures last week, that's not in debate, but only ONE sac.. 2. And its not like the OL was totally ineffective. Don't forget the running game where they aided BOTH our top RB's to average OVER 5ypc 3. Take that game in context with what's happening in the rest of the league. Multiple sacks are the norm this early in the pre season. Just a quick example Even though the Giants crushed the Jets, they gave up 2 sacks. 4. Speaking of the Jets. If you want to look at a team whose OL really IS REALLY in tatters, just look at the Jets. Compare our ONE sack with the ELEVEN the Jets have given up in just 2 games. Sanchez alone has been sacked 5 times just 3 quarters of play. And if that wasn't bad enough, ALL the Jets RB's are averaging LESS than 4 ypc 5. Again, I'm not saying its good or that its anywhere close to were we want it to be. HOWEVER, there 3 key reasons why we are where we are, and why all should be back to what we expect over the next 3 weeks. First think about this. Having an effective OL is more than just having talented players. Its about creating continuity and cohesion within the group. Its Dante's great talent. For years he's created solid to great OL's even when the talent hasn't been outstanding. When players go down, no names come from nowhere and somehow seamlessly fill in. He does it by getting 5 guys who play as one. Last year was perfect example and I shouldn't have to cite the examples. So with that in mind: a. To date the Pats have had 18 practices. Last season by this point they had 31 Don't forget that there hasn't been a single double session this pre-season. The new CBA has had an impact and that's one example of it. And it affects not only the OL, but the rest of the offense as well. b. The obvious one - we are missing 3 of our projected 5 starters. Plus breaking in a new LT for the first time in 11 years. And a new RT who missed half of last season with Cancer. In some parts that just "might" be considered a slight dislocation. c. Because of the missing players and the unexpected retirement of Gallery, a lot of different guys have been shuttling in and out of the first 2 groups, and that HAS to have caused a lack of continuity and cohesion. As to Nate Solder, I'd remind people that he had a GREAT rookie season playing against some top notch DE's in REAL games. A couple of bad plays in the initial preseason game and some reports from a guy who is judging results from 300 yds way at practice, shouldn't poison what he accomplished or take away from his potential. Believe me, this kid is eventually gong to be better than Matt Light. As to Marcus Cannon - personally I believe he's better suited to be a guard. But I also believed for 11 years that Matt Light would have been a better G, so take it for what its worth. I'm more worried about his progress and very interested to see he has progressed (or not) against a very good Eagle DL. The GOOD NEWS: Help is on the way. Mankins is back. Volmer and Waters are on their way (reportedly) Hopefully in time to get at least one preseason game under their belts (though Waters showed last season that he didn't need one The BAD NEWS: We all have to deal with the "nervous nellies" who think the sky is falling. until we eventually and inevitably sort this out. You know the game day thread Cassandras who prophesize doom after the Pats first 3 and out. Its NOT going to be perfect on Monday. They have good players too. They will make some plays on defense, and there are likely going to be pressures and sacks. It happens to every team's offense. There is no need to panic over it. We should be looking for progress, not perfection at this stage. There are still obviously a LOT to things to sort out on the OL. Who is going to play C this season. Who will get released. How many offensive linemen are we going to keep, Can Volmer stay healthy and as effective as he was. and the question mgtiech is dying to know "who is the 4th OT" As to the Eagle game. - The Eagles are one of the top teams in the league and will be a great test for both sides of the ball. They have a very good DL with lots of pass rushers and they love to blitz. Also that its been reported that Reid is going to keep his starters in the game into the 3rd quarter. They are in a similar scheduling situation as the Pats and it just might make more sense for both to have this game be more like the usual 3rd game scenario. It will be interesting to see how BB plays it. In Summary: 1. Relative to the rest of the league its not as bad as you think 2. There are legit reasons for the relatively poor showing in the first game, most important is the lack of practices 3. Help is on the way 4. Its going to get better. OK....maybe not so quick.