Fixing pass protection will be priority number one for the next offensive line coach

No matter who the Patriots hire as their next offensive line coach, fixing the team’s pass protection schemes will be priority number one.

The team has interviewed former Patriots Adrian Klemm and Ryan Wendell for the vacant offensive line coach opening. Both have NFL experience but Wendell has more experience working with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

Regardless of who the team hires, fixing the team’s pass protection issues is priority number one. The team gave up 41 sacks this past season. Mac Jones was routinely under duress and it did not seem like the team had an answer for the protection problems they had.

Using more formations and personnel groupings could certainly help as will getting the ball out quicker and more perimeter screens.

Of course pass protection wasn’t the only issue with this unit last season. The team couldn’t run the ball the last quarter of the season and that really limited what they could do on offense. Getting the running game back on track will be another area of focus.

The offensive line coach is arguably the most important position coach on the staff. He has to figure out a way to make five to seven guys or more fit within the run and pass schemes. It is not easy and it is a labor of love. Trust me. I was an offensive line coach for years. It is a lot of work but also very rewarding.

We talk about Mac Jones development a lot around these parts. He took a step back this past season. His play regressed because of bad play calling, bad decision making on his part and poor line play.

If the Patriots want Jones to play to the level he is capable, on a consistent basis, they have to protect him better. It is that simple. If they do not, he will not get better and neither will the team.

The next offensive line coach of the Patriots doesn’t have to be Dante Scarnecchia. No one is. They do however need to be a good coach who can get the most out of this group. If they do not, it will be another long season for the Patriots offensively.

Whoever does ultimately get hired will be walking into a tough situation. Last season was a mess along the offensive line. A mess that this new line coach will need to clean up.