New England Patriots: Dante Scarnecchia

Cleaning out the Patriots notebook

January, 24, 2014
Jan 24
10:00
AM ET
Cleaning out the New England Patriots notebook:

Imagine Scarnecchia coaching the Jets: Fun interview this morning to listen to retiring Patriots assistant coach Dante Scarnecchia on the “D&C Show” on sports radio WEEI. Scarnecchia was asked about coaching on the Patriots' staff for 30 years and he expressed how fortunate he was to do so despite numerous head coaching changes. He also revealed that Bill Parcells asked him to come to the Jets with him in 1997, but he declined because his daughter was still in high school at the time and he didn’t want to leave the area. A John Hannah/Logan Mankins comparison and thoughts on what makes Bill Belichick a special coach were among the other highlights.

Gruden on what Patriots need in 2014: In a radio interview on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” program earlier this week, Jon Gruden was asked about the Patriots’ top needs for 2014. After mentioning a return to health for key players, he said: “There’s no question they need to address their receiving corps. I don’t know that [Danny] Amendola, [Julian] Edelman, the cast of receivers, has enough firepower to take you the distance."

Parcells on Wes Welker/Aqib Talib play: In a radio interview on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” program earlier this week, Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Parcells was asked his thoughts on the hit that knocked Talib out of the AFC Championship Game. “These things happen a little bit in football,” he said. “On these crossing and rub plays and picks, the guy that is going over the top, much like in basketball, is kind of the screen setter, and he’s the one trying to pick off the defensive player on the player coming underneath. So the only thing you can question is ‘What was Welker’s intent when he went at Talib?’ I don’t know the answer to that. Obviously Bill thinks it was malicious intent. If it was malicious intent, that’s a lot different than running just a pick play.”

Patriots returning to the playoffs in 2014: In an Insider piece now posted on ESPN.com Insider, Mike Sando ranks the 12 playoff teams from 2013 who are most likely to return to the playoffs next season. He has the Patriots ranked at No. 1 and explains why.

Edelman & Ninkovich on ‘All-Joe’ team: USA Today’s “All-Joe” team is an annual good read, highlighting unsung players in the NFL. Patriots receiver Julian Edelman and defensive end Rob Ninkovich earn a mention.

Gostkowski hopes to preserve the extra point: Count Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski among those who disagree with head coach Bill Belichick on eliminating the extra point.

Scar: Center decision as tough as any

November, 1, 2012
11/01/12
11:23
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Few players exemplified consistency and reliability during their time with the Patriots more than former center Dan Koppen, who after earning the starting job as a rookie in 2003 held on to the gig until an ankle injury during Week 1 of the 2011 forced him on to the injured reserve list.

During this past training camp, Koppen was a part of a competition at the center spot that was eventually won by Ryan Wendell, who has played every offensive snap through eight games this season.

Wendell's performance drew the praise of his position coach, Dante Scarnecchia, who was asked if Wendell has done an excellent job of stepping in to replace Koppen.

"I think he has. Clearly the obvious is that he replaced a very, very good football player and a very popular football player," Scarnecchia said. "That's as tough of a decision as we've ever had around here for those reasons.

"But we also knew that this is a young guy that has played very well when we've asked him to play and he's done a very good job through the first eight games of the season, and he's all the things we thought he would be," he continued. "He's very tough, very smart, and a really competitive guy on every down, through every down. He's a great finisher and that's why he's here, and that's why we kept him as a rookie and kept him around here and that's why this kid is on our roster, and that's why he's starting for us, all those reasons."

And while Scarnecchia said he and the coaches are pleased with Wendell's performance, he suggested Wendell would probably cite room for self-improvement.

"We're pleased with the way things have gone there, and yet if you ask him, I'm sure he would say he's probably got a lot of work to do and he could play better in a lot of situations," he said. "He's a great kid. I'm glad we got him."

Wendell is one of two new starters along the offensive line this season -- second-year left tackle Nate Solder is the other.

Scarnecchia discussed Solder's development, and noted that the 24-year-old is also targeting improvement.

"He's just like all the other guys and all the other starters," Scarnecchia said of Solder. "We have expectations of him. He plays a critical position because it's the left tackle position and those guys are always, those guys always have a tough challenge. But they all have tough jobs. There's good players in this league at all positions. Is Nate satisfied? No. I think that every day he wants to do better and get better and he always has challenges, he's going to be challenged next week [against Buffalo]."

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider