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Catching up with Patriots coaches: How offensive line will improve in second half, how running backs will be used

Ryan Hannable
November 04, 2017 - 11:00 am

The Patriots assistant coaches are made available twice a year — once during the start of training camp and then again during the bye week.

The two most sought after coaches on these days are offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and running backs coach Ivan Fears, as both are extremely honest with their takes.

Scarnecchia was honest in assessing the play of his offensive line so far this season, as a 40-year-old Tom Brady has been hit much more than many would like through the first eight games.

“We should protect our quarterback better than what we have been doing,” Scarnecchia said to reporters. “We’re trending in that direction over the last two weeks. We’ve seen some good rushers out there. Guys have done a much better job. Tommy seems to be a little bit more upright than he was in the first six games. Hopefully, we are trending in that direction to where we can really throw up a wall in front of this guy and help him.

“We’re eight games into this deal, and no one is satisfied. They’re not. I’m not. Certainly, the head coach isn’t.”

In the backfield, Fears has four solid backs who all can do different things in Mike Gillislee, Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead and James White. 

Fears acknowledged Gillislee is the main guy in short-yardage situations. 

“Mike’s my biggest back. He’s my strongest runner. I’m going to give him a shot at it first,” he said, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “If somebody has a chance to run through and make a play, he has a chance to do it as far as if he has to physically run through a guy.”

As for the remaining eight games, the Patriots will continue with what they have done so far, which is get everyone involved.

“The way we see it, we’re playing everybody,” Fears said. “Everybody has a role. It sort of dictates how it goes whether you use them or not. You go on a feel from there.”