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Super Bowl LI: Return of Dante Scarnecchia revitalizes Patriots’ O-line

New England Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia

New England Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia takes questions from members of the media at Gillette Stadium, Wednesday, July 27, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots' NFL football training camp is to begin Thursday, July 28. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Credit: AP/Steven Senne

The Patriots would not have reached this point without Tom Brady. But the future Hall of Fame quarterback might not have had as successful a season had it not been for a new-old addition to their coaching staff.

After a two-year retirement to spend more time with his family and seven grandchildren, Dante Scarnecchia, 68, returned as the team’s offensive line coach. And since he came back, the Patriots’ offense has flourished.

Behind a relatively healthy and consistent offensive line, Brady had plenty of time to go through his progressions and read defenses. He threw 28 touchdown passes and only two interceptions in 12 games, and the Patriots averaged 117 rushing yards (seventh in the league). They also surrendered 24 sacks (fifth fewest).

“It was great to have Dante back,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “Dante is a tremendous coach, one of the very best I have ever worked with. He can probably coach any position on the field.”

Belichick had hired former Jets and Giants assistant coach Dave DeGuglielmo to fill Scarnecchia’s shoes. But mounting injuries derailed the unit’s production, and after a woeful performance by the offensive line in the AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos last season, DeGuglielmo was fired.

New York Sports