Dante Scarnecchia

Dante Scarnecchia expects 'growing pains' as Jarrett Stidham replaces Tom Brady

Dante Scarnecchia expects 'growing pains' as Jarrett Stidham replaces Tom Brady

Dante Scarnecchia is a believer in Jarrett Stidham, but he knows the first New England Patriots season in 20 years without Tom Brady at quarterback will require some patience.

The legendary Patriots offensive line coach, who retired in January after 34 years in Foxboro, shared his thoughts on the team's transition from Brady to Stidham in a recent interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio.

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"There's gonna be some growing pains, there's no doubt about it," said Scarnecchia. "But the guy does have skills, he's got a great mind. He cares, he shows up early, goes home late, and I wish him nothing but the best. If still there, I would just say, 'Look, fellas, we gotta do everything we can to make this guy as comfortable as we can.' And I'm sure that the guys that are gonna coach those guys this year are saying exactly that.

"We've got to be as good as we can be every down and give this guy all the support we possibly can. Let him get comfortable and build confidence, and be the kind of player we want him to be and he wants to be, more importantly."

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There's no question Stidham will have his work cut out for him as Brady's replacement. The 2019 fourth-round draft pick will have limited opportunities to get up to speed with his new teammates this offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That, plus Stidham's inexperience at the pro level, explains why Scarnecchia expects some kinks will need to be worked out at the beginning of the season.

That said, Scarnecchia clearly sees Stidham as a capable heir to Brady's throne. If the Patriots can help the Auburn product feel comfortable and put him in a position to succeed, fans may be pleasantly surprised with the result.

Veteran QB Brian Hoyer will compete with Stidham for the starting job in his third stint with the Patriots. Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo are set to share the offensive line coaching duties in Scarnecchia's absence.

Dante Scarnecchia hints at new Patriots offensive line coaching structure

Dante Scarnecchia hints at new Patriots offensive line coaching structure

Dante Scarnecchia reportedly helped the New England Patriots at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, but he's not coming out of retirement a second time.

How do we know this? Because the former Patriots offensive line coach has already named his successors.

In a recent interview with ESPN's Mike Reiss, Scarnecchia all but confirmed that Patriots assistants Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo will coach the offensive line in tandem this season.

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"They're both really good coaches and both really good people. Very, very smart guys," Scarnecchia told Reiss. "I know no one has been named, and there are reasons for that, but clearly those are the two guys that are going to do it, and I think they'll do an outstanding job.

"The other thing is they know the players. It's not like they're new, coming in from the outside. They've both been around there -- especially Cole, who has been in the system for five years. Carm for one."

The Patriots' official website (which has never been heavy on details) still lists Scarnecchia as the team's offense line coach. Popovich is listed as New England's assistant running backs coach, while Bricillo is labeled a "coaching assistant."

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Both assistant coaches have experience on the offensive line, though: Popovich was the offensive line coach at Minot State for two seasons until joining the Patriots in 2015, while Bricillo spent nine years as Youngstown State's offensive line coach before coming to New England in 2019.

The Patriots went outside the organization to replace Scarnecchia the first time he retired, naming Dave DeGuglielmo their offensive line coach in 2014. DeGuglielmo lasted just two seasons in New England, though, and it appears the Patriots are promoting from within this time to replace the legendary Scarnecchia -- who, to be clear, is not coming back in 2020.

"I've done it for 48 years. I think that's plenty," Scarnecchia told Reiss, "and I'm really, really grateful for every day, every year of those 48, and all the things it's provided us."

Report: Dante Scarnecchia to help Patriots at NFL Combine despite retiring

Report: Dante Scarnecchia to help Patriots at NFL Combine despite retiring

Will Dante Scarnecchia ever truly "retire?"

The 72-year-old offensive line coach stepped away from the New England Patriots earlier this offseason, his second retirement since leaving the club in 2013 only to return in 2016.

But Scarnecchia still will be present at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine on behalf of the Patriots, NFL Media's Michael Giardi reported Monday.

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Scarnecchia joined several Patriots assistant coaches and staffers on a flight to Indianapolis on Monday, per Giardi.

As Giardi noted, Scarnecchia also did some scouting when he first retired from the Patriots in 2013. New England coaxed him back in 2016, and he helped the team win two Super Bowl titles over the next four years.

It's possible Scarnecchia really is retired this time. But considering he's worked with the Patriots for 34 years -- he joined the team as a special teams and tight ends coach in 1982 -- and has been coaching nearly ever year of his life since 1970, he may have a hard time going cold turkey.

New England still hasn't found a replacement for Scarnecchia, so Bill Belichick likely appreciates the legendary offensive line coach doing some pro bono work.

On-field workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium begin Thursday and continue through Sunday.