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Back on track with the season reviews and today I’ll take a look at the 2008 Patriots offensive line.
Matt Light: A
Thoughts: The consummate professional, Matt Light did an admirable job protecting Matt Cassel and allowed the young QB space to scramble in and out of the pocket. He may have seen his best years come and go, but there’s not too many left tackles I’d rather have in the NFL.
Logan Mankins: B+
Thoughts: After a Pro Bowl appearance in 2007, Mankins – like the rest of the offensive line – were embarrassed in the Super Bowl and had a lot of questions coming into 2008. Though the Pats offensive line allowed more sacks (48 in 2008, fifth worst in the NFL) than in 2007, the left side of the line still performed well in 2008. Mankins still has room to improve but he’s still a young guy.
Dan Koppen: B
Thoughts: As the line moves left to right, the grades go down. Koppen had a decent season at center but nothing spectacular.
Stephen Neal: C+
Thoughts: He is a good story, having been a former wrestler (not Hulk Hogan wrestling, but real wrestling) but he is often injured and when he was on the field left a little to be desired.
Nick Kaczur: C
Thoughts: Came into the season with a lot of off field distractions and tried to put them behind him. Like the rest of the right guards and tackles, he’s a decent lineman but gives up sacks against bigger or faster d linemen.
Russ Hochstein/Billy Yates/Ryan O’Callahan: Inc
Thoughts: Either hurt or limited playing time, these guys are fill ins who, in my mind, could be replaced. O’Callahan is still young and has some size so he’s the most likely to stick around.
Overall offensive line grade: B-