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Patriots Appear to Be Splitting Duties to Replace Dante Scarnecchia

New England is apparently is using two coaches to replace long-time offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia in 2020.

One of the biggest losses the New England Patriots suffered this offseason on the coaching staff was offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. Scarnecchia will go down as one of the greatest offensive line coaches of all-time, which is why trying to fill the void left by him is almost impossible.

But the Patriots appear to be trying to do so with multiple coaches. 

During David Andrews' video conference on Tuesday, he was asked what it's like having the same core of guys on the offensive line returning this year, especially after losing Tom Brady and Scarnecchia. Here's what Andrews had to say:

"You know, Marcus [Cannon], Shaq [Mason], Joe [Thuney] – I've played a lot of football with them. I obviously didn't play much with Isaiah [Wynn] last year, but I played a lot of football with them," Andrews said. "A lot of those guys have played football [together], and now it's going into Isaiah's third year in the league. 

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"And also, Cole Popovich and Carm [Carmen Bricillo], it's not like these are someone that they brought in and a lot of us haven't even met. These are guys that Cole's been there for a while and Carm's been there since last year. So, pretty much every one in the room right now, other than the rookies, have a relationship with those guys, are familiar with them, so I think that helps a lot having those guys that we've been around for a long time and have been in our system helps a lot because there's a lot of continuity there."

Based on Andrews' remarks, it sounds like assistant running backs coach Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo are leading the offensive line room this year. 2020 marks Bricillo's second season as a coach in the NFL, and prior to 2019 he spent nine years coaching the offensive line at Youngstown State. Popovich is entering his fourth season with the Patriots, and spent last season as the assistant running backs coach, but the previous three seasons as a coaching assistant. However, he does have experience coaching offensive linemen, as he did so at Minot State (2014-15), Fresno City College (2012-13) and Los Angeles Valley College (2011).  

Popovich could just be helping Bricillo transition to a larger role this offseason, which is why they are both leading the virtual offseason programs. However, if both of them were to continue being co-offensive line coaches for the 2020 season, it would make sense. Trying to replace Scarnecchia's talent as a coach with one person wouldn't be possible. But replacing him with two might be.