When you look at the Patriots offensive line, some curious observations can be made. They appear to operate opposite of what other lines in the NFL do.
On pass plays they are very aggressive in their short sets, engaging opposing defenders quickly even when there is no play-action. They “set-short” and make it a phone booth fighter size ring and battle away.
This can only be done when you have absolute confidence in your quarterback to stay on schedule with the ball and Brady gets it out of his hands quickly.
On run downs when normally O Lines tear off the ball and try to uproot their opponents, the Patriots line appears less aggressive, more positional oriented even to the point where the old-time concept of “establishing the line of scrimmage on the other side of the ball” has no bearing and they will give ground to get positional leverage on a run.
Taken as individuals, Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Brian Waters and Nate Solder (Sebastian Vollmer may be back this week), they are your average good, solid, well coached NFL linemen with a special nod to Logan Mankins who is a body-buster. Other than Mankins, though none really stand out individually on tape.
However, operating as a five-some with Tom Brady at the helm, they are extremely productive, a product of what Chuck Noll used to refer to as “synergy,” the sum of the whole is greater than the parts.
Exactly what you want from the “Big Shaggies” up front.