FOXBORO -- Through three weeks of the 2015 season, the Patriots have one of the most productive offenses in the NFL. They lead the league in total yardage (1339) and they are second in the points scored (119).
That they've done it all while using a rotation of three rookie interior linemen makes their effectiveness moving the ball and getting into the end zone all the more impressive. Rookie center David Andrews has played every offensive snap -- he stayed on the field against the Jaguars when Jimmy Garoppolo came on to kneel against the Jaguars -- while Tre' Jackson and Shaq Mason have worked in at right and left guard, respectively, sharing snaps with third-year player Josh Kline.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick lauded the rookie trio in a press conference on Wednesday, highlighting the relationship that Tom Brady and Andrews have developed in this short period of time.
"Just them being on the same page, snap count, defensive identification," Belichick said. "Things like that, which in this league, can be challenging. Then when you throw crowd noise into it or fast tempo, just making sure that the line and the quarterback see it the same way. It's not necessarily a right or a wrong there, they just should be on the same page.
"We can do it sometimes either way, one way is a certainly advantage another way has a different advantage, but just making sure that we all have that. Change up the snap count, using different timing on the count so that the defense can't jump the snap, particularly on the road. It's just being on the same page. Of course Tom's been in a lot of those situations. David's very quick to pick it up. He's played center a long time. I don't think there's a lot that's new for him. Think it's just being on the same page."
Given injuries that the team dealt with on the line through training camp, Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff knew that there was a chance the young group would see significant time. They made sure to give them as much work as possible before the season so that when the games began to count, they'd be ready.
"They've had more reps than anybody at any position," Belichick said. "They're literally, they haven't missed a day, they took a ton of snaps in the spring, a ton of snaps in training camp, a lot of snaps in practice. [Ryan] Wendell has only been able to practice a very limited amount for us, but he's been on the roster since the start of the season, forget about training camp.
"Those guys took a lot of snaps just due to our lack of depth in there. Chris Barker was out for a while. They played all the practice squad games, played quite a bit in all of them. They keep getting better. With more reps and more experience. But they've taken a lot of snaps. I can't imagine anyone's taken more than what those guys have. Anywhere. The volume is high."
Belichick then got into a brief scouting report on each of his three rookies, who, according to Pro Football Focus, have combined to allow one sack and four quarterback hits.
"They all come from different backgrounds," Belichick said. "Shaq was one of the better run blockers that we evaluated but he was obviously behind in the pass protection because of his system. We saw him in the Senior Bowl and the workouts, and as we've gone through the whole pass protection thing here, whether it be individual techniques or schemes, games, that kind of thing. He gets better all the time.
"Tre' played the same offense that [Bryan] Stork did obviously, maybe a little further ahead in the passing game, but I don't think anyone is as far ahead as Shaq is in the running game.
"Andrews was a really productive player in a real good conference, played against a lot of good people, played center all his life. Played the East-West game, thought he showed well there. He's just a good football player.
"They're all different, but they've kind of meshed well together both on and off the field, communication, they're getting a feel for playing with each other. Long way to go but making progress."