Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia talked about Matt Light’s retirement today. The two had an interesting, often stormy relationship, which I wrote about before the Super Bowl.
You said at the Super Bowl that you and Light had gotten to a good place, was that because you knew his career was coming to an end?
“I know we’re all kind of winding down as you get older, but I don’t think any of us knew at that point that he was going to retire. It was just for the three years we have arrived at a good place and it’s been good. Basically that’s it.”
You both are kind of stubborn, did you finally find some common ground?
“I think Bill (Belichick) really alluded to a lot of it with his remarks. A young guy comes in here, first meeting we have together he’s falling asleep. It’s one of those, ‘Hey, wake up!’ But it probably wasn’t said that nice. (He said,) ‘Well, I’ve got narcolepsy.’ ‘Why didn’t you tell me that before we drafted you?’ One of those deals. And then the second thing was, ‘You know, I really can’t play anything but left tackle.’ So, I mean, do the math on that one. But he’s a really good player. It’s a great day. A celebration.
Why was it a love/hate relationship?
“Matt’s one of those guys that he’s got opinions on a lot of things, a lot of them aren’t very well founded so he’s like that burr under the saddle, he irritates you, you know? Once you realize what he’s all about, and once he realizes that his way isn’t always the best way, it becomes a lot easier deal.”
How difficult will it be to replace that kind of consistency?
“An 11 year starter, whatever it is, that’s always hard to replace. But we’re playing a game, we’re playing games in September and they count and we have to replace him. So basically that’s it. It is what it is, like Bill always says. He’s a great guy, he’s going to be tough to replace, but we’ve lost players out of here before and we have guys that we think can do a good job for us.”
Nate Solder is that guy?
“We have guys that can do a good job.”
What stood out about Matt as a player on the field?
“I think consistency. Never really the great physical attributes of some of those great left tackles that we’ve seen but just really consistent, competitive, every down you’re going to get his best effort. He’s going to work very hard during the week to prepare himself to play, and all those things add up to, ‘OK, he’s going to do all right.’ It’s a struggle out there, as it always with for anybody, but he’ll do OK. And I think that’s the biggest thing about him.”
Could you have predicted the 11-year starter the day you got him?
“No, you can’t do that with anybody because, No. 1, you never know whether you’re going to have them for 11 years because of the way this league goes. Can you pay him, can you do all that stuff? Who knows? Pretty good player at Purdue, pretty good physical attributes and all you do is hope for the best. You hope you can get a guy for that price…I mean, do the math. How many guys that play 11 years and go to three Pro Bowls and do all the things we talked about today that are mid-second round picks? That’s all a credit to him, believe me.