- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Leftovers from Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' meeting with reporters on Friday:
Aside from Matt Light, if other starting o-linemen will return. “We’ll see. That’s certainly not a question that I think I’m able to answer at this moment. I know we have some guys that are working through some injuries and rehabbing and those kind of things [e.g. Logan Mankins, ACL]. Certainly, Matt Light will be missed. I think any player of that caliber is going to be somebody that is hard to replace, but I know we have some guys that are ready to compete. A lot of our linemen are in here, working hard, and doing all the things they can to try to compete for those spots.”
On if Brian Waters will return. "I don’t have anything on that."
On Nate Solder and his development. "I’m getting to know Nate, along with a lot of the other players I wasn’t familiar with on a personal level before. He has a great position coach, I know that. Dante [Scarnecchia] will do a great job coaching all of our linemen. I know Nate has been in here, working hard. I know he did a lot of good things as a rookie last year, in his first season in the NFL. Hopefully he can progress and improve this spring, and into training camp. Whatever his role will be will be determined how it all sorts out through the competition of camp and the summer. I know he’s eager to compete."
On the quarterback depth chart. "I’m getting to know them right now. I know [Tom Brady], but again, every year is different. It’s really good to reconnect with Tom in a football sense and really kind of go back through some of the things that have changed. I’m not exactly the same coach in terms of some of the things I might say or believe in, in the meeting room. And he’s not the same player. That’s a good thing. I’m really getting an opportunity the last few weeks here to establish a relationship with Brian [Hoyer], Ryan [Mallett] and Mike [Hartline] and just kind of getting a feel for their skill set, where they are mentally, and then how each of them need to be taught. I know, as a position coach, you really can’t teach them all the same. You want them to all learn the same information, but certainly, they don’t all learn exactly the same way. I think that’s the first challenge – to identify where they’re at and then what do they need from me, and then try to give it to them the way they need it as we go forward."
On running backs and the addition of Joseph Addai. "I certainly had an opportunity to speak to Joe, and now see him a couple times in the last couple of days. It’s great to have that veteran presence there. Danny also provides that, I think, [he’s] been in the league for a while now too. He’s good for the room. It’s really going to be exciting to see the development of those young players. I know Shane [Vereen] missed some time last year with some injuries, and Stevan [Ridley] had an opportunity to really kind of get in there and get some action, but that’s a position where we’ve got some youth, we’ve got some experience, we certainly have some depth, and we’ll find out as the competition unfolds how it’s going to play out for the season."
On the tight ends and if they are considered receivers at this point. "They certainly can do some things similar, but I still think that the tight end position is defended differently than the receiver position is. It depends on what personnel groupings we have on the field, and then what the defense has on the field. What are the matchups? If they are being played with safeties and linebackers, which many times they are, then certainly it’s more of a tight end oriented position for them. At times they are played with defensive backs, then you can do some different things with them there. I think the versatility they provide our offense is really unique, the skill sets they certainly have demonstrated in the first two years are pretty special. It will be exciting to see how this year evolved and what we can do to challenge – they all can continue to grow and get better, and that’s really our biggest challenge. How can we make them better? They’re all going to work hard to do that too."