FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When Patriots starting left tackle Nate Solder assesses areas in which he's aiming for improvement, he starts with pass protection.
"Last year I gave up a few more pressures than I'd like," he told reporters Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. "It's always something different. It's situational, but that one key thing is important for me."
Set to enter his third NFL season, the 6-foot-8, 320-pound Solder is taking part in his second full offseason program with the Patriots. He talked Tuesday about how he views this time of year as starting at the "ground level" in the "building phase."
A few soundbites from Solder:
Returning every starter along the offensive line. "We don't take anything for granted. We have to all prepare as if that wasn't the case, and we all get ready and know that things happen during the season. So you never know."
Importance of having continuity on the offensive line. "You have to give the coaches credit. Coach Scarnecchia, he always has anyone on our team prepared and ready, which isn't always easy to do. But it always seems that way."
On how much a player can improve in the offseason program without hitting. "Right now is kind of the strength and conditioning phase. We've done a little bit with the coaching sessions, but it's more right now getting our bodies healthy and ready to play."
Responding to Steelers safety Ryan Clark's remarks about Tom Brady seeing "ghosts" at times. "I don't know anything about quarterback, and I never have an opportunity to watch Tom because I'm always looking at the guy in front of me. I don't know anything about that."
What it's like being in the huddle with Brady in a big moment of a game. "Tom's great. He's the commander of the offense, and that's the way he always is in every situation. I think the way he is, you wouldn't know whether there were stakes on the game or not."
Managing his weight. "I've done great with my weight this offseason. I feel happy with my weight, and now it's just a matter of converting it and making it stronger and more football ready, I guess ... about 320 [pounds]."