Dante Scarnecchia touches on his return, where Joe Thuney will play

One of the biggest and best offseason moves the Patriots made was bringing Dante Scarnecchia back as the offensive line coach. Scarnecchia retired after the 2013-14 season, and the offensive line struggled for a sizable chunk of the last two seasons.

But it sounds like Scarnecchia is happy to be back doing what he loves.

"It is a tough decision because you become very used to a very nice lifestyle," he said on Monday. "I like retirement, now. Retirement was great. A lot of fun. We saw things we hadn't seen ever. Took trips, spent a lot of time with our grandkids. All that was great. To a degree, it's very, very hard to give up.

"We talked about it, my wife and I, and we decided this would be a good thing on a lot of different levels, as far as the grandkids being able to come to the games for free and just be a part of it all. And I like coaching football. I love coaching football. I didn't retire because I didn't like coaching football. I retired because I got tired of the lifestyle. Two years off, I'm OK."

Coach Scar will have a lot of new faces to work with, and he'll look to revamp an offensive line that was the second-worst in pass protection last season. One of the new players he'll work with is Joe Thuney, who the Patriots drafted over the weekend. There were questions as to where Thuney would play, but according to Scarnecchia, he'll be playing on the inside.


"Hey, look," he said, "we drafted him to play inside, and also knowing that in a pinch he could help us outside. He's going to be an inside player unless disaster hits and then he's going to be an outside player. We've done it with others. He's just going to be another in the line."

"I think he's really a tremendous athlete," Scarnecchia said. "I think he's a really smart kid. He has a really good playing style. He's a good person. He was gonna be [NC State's] center. Started at guard. Started at left tackle. All in a great conference. He's got good size. Really good measurables. We feel like he's got the traits that we covet for people that come in here."

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