Patriots ’20 Questions: Can offensive line be elite group, one entire offense can rely on?

The Patriots are in the midst of the most interesting, important offseason in more than two decades. Tom Brady moved on to Tampa Bay. Bill Belichick remains in place with a veteran roster. There are plenty of questions and even more plentiful opinions regarding the defending AFC East champions. Over the next few weeks will ask and offer up answers to 20 of the most critical questions facing the 2020 Patriots.

Today’s question: Can the veteran offensive line become an elite unit, one the entire offense can lean on?

Hannable: Absolutely. Just look at the names in the group -- Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon are among the best players of the entire offense. That doesn't even include other starters Isaiah Wynn and David Andrews, who are also solid players. If everything goes according to plan and all five starters are healthy and play in the majority of the games, there's no question the group has the potential to be among the best in football.

And if that is the case, the offense will certainly lean on them when it comes to the running game. And that doesn't include running backs, but quarterbacks as well. The run game will be a big part of the Patriots offense no matter who is at quarterback.

With that being said, if things do not go according to plan, the unit being elite goes out the window. There isn't much depth at the position and that is magnified with the departure of Dante Scarnecchia. 

Bottom line, the potential to be elite is there, it just comes down to health.

Hart: There is no question that the offensive line should be the strength of the Patriots offense. Whether it’s draft picks or money, a lot has been invested in the veteran group. All five starters return from a year ago, although David Andrews missed last year to blood clots in his lungs. You have two highly-paid veteran guards in Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason. Andrews is a solid center and key leader/communicator. Isaiah Wynn is supposed to be a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle based on his first-round draft status. Marcus Cannon is a proven veteran when he’s playing his best football. Other than Wynn, all guys are Pro Bowl-caliber veterans.

While there are questions about coaching given the retirement of legendary coach Dante Scarnecchia, there should be no question about talent. If the line doesn’t play at an elite level it will make everything else on offense more difficult. The line should be the unquestioned foundation of everything the Patriots do on offense. Because unfortunately everything else on offense is indeed in question.

Can Patriots offensive line be elite, one entire offense can rely on?

— The Off Day (@OffDayPod) July 20, 2020