While the Patriots have seen injuries pileup along the offensive line through training camp (Jonathan Cooper, Bryan Stork, Shaq Mason, etc.), there's been one constant: NC State rookie Joe Thuney. Despite his lack of time with the team, the newcomer has impressed coaches and fellow players alike with his stalwart, tough-nosed play and attention to detail.
Speaking after practice on Wednesday, Thuney said, "I don't even think about wins and losses [in drills]. I just focus on trying to do technique right on that play. I'm not worried about the outcome. I'm more worried about the process." So far, that approach has been paying off. While the left guard position has been a revolving door due to injuries and subpar play, Thuney has taken command of the right guard job and never looked back.
While he hasn't had much time to get his feet under him in the NFL, he's already bested Terrance Knighton and Malcolm Brown in 1-on-1 drills and has established himself as a near-lock to start on opening day. In any case, he's already impressed veteran offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. As Scar said after the draft, "He's a really smart kid. He has a really good playing style. He's a good person...He's got good size. Really good measurables. We feel like he's got the traits we covet for people that come in here."
It won't be easy to live up to that high praise, but from all indications Thuney has managed to do it so far. If he keeps it up, he could lock down the OG position for years to come and anchor the New England offensive line--something his coaches and teammates would definitely appreciate.
Photo courtesy New England Patriots
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