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Patriots Daily: John Hannah Snubbed; Left Tackles on Notice?

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Former New England Patriots legends Andre Tippett, left, and John Hannah, center, talk to team owner Robert Kraft before an NFL football game between the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

I apologize for taking yesterday off. My daughter’s 10U softball team pulled off an undefeated championship season on Saturday, something that eluded the 2007 New England Patriots. Some might say the undefeated campaign makes the head coach (me) even more accomplished than Bill Belichick, but I’ll let others discuss such topics. Congratulations to the girls. There was very little sleep as the team celebrated through the night, followed by preparations for the parade.

Okay, the last part is not true. A family event prevented me from working Sunday. So today’s edition of Patriots Daily should be filed in the ‘better late than never’ category.

John Hannah Snubbed

Hall of Fame offensive lineman Larry Allen tragically passed away suddenly last Sunday. Allen played 14 NFL seasons for the Cowboys (1994-2005) and 49ers (2006-2007). He made 11 Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro six times. Yardbarker writer Eric Smithling paid tribute to Allen this week. He snubbed Patriots legend John Hannah in the process.

Smithling selected an “All-NFL Hall of Fame Team” for Yardbarker. The 24 players are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so no complaining about Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Adam Vinatieri being passed over for Peyton Manning, Tony Gonzalez, and Morten Andersen. The lone roster member who played for the Patriots was cornerback Darrelle Revis, better known for his time with the Jets.

There were questionable choices for personnel (i.e. Calvin Johnson over Randy Moss) and positions (two of three linebackers play inside).

Larry Allen and Joe Thomas were the offensive tackles. Allen played tackle for two of 14 seasons. The two guards were Steve Hutchinson and Gene Upshaw. Both played left guard, as did Allen. So three of five offensive linemen are left guards. It was an odd decision. It also means Smithling doesn’t view John Hannah as one of the three best left guards in NFL history.

Hannah made first-team All-Pro seven times. No guard was honored more often. The 100 Greatest NFL Players of All-Time was selected in 2010 and Hannah was the highest-ranked guard (No. 24 overall). Hannah was one of seven guards on the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, chosen in 2019. Allen and Upshaw also made the team as guards. Hutchinson did not.

With all due respect to Eric Smithling and the players he selected, any All-NFL teams John Hannah is eligible for that don’t include him quickly lose credibility, as this one did.

Patriots Left Tackles on Notice?

Chukmura Okorafor is favored to become the New England Patriots’ starting left tackle in 2024. He practiced with the first unit in OTAs. When Okorafor missed last Tuesday’s practice Calvin Anderson stepped in. New England also has rookie Caeden Wallace competing for the spot.

All three have primarily played right tackle. Can someone transition smoothly to the left side? Wallace also must assimilate to joining the NFL

Solid left tackle play is always key. If Drake Maye plays as a rookie, keeping the QB upright becomes particularly urgent. Nobody wants Jacoby Brissett or Bailey Zappe to take a beating, but Maye is on another level. New England needs to set up their potential franchise quarterback for success whenever he enters the lineup. Protecting his blind side is crucial.

Jerod Mayo confirmed Mike Onwenu is “locked in” at right tackle. Mayo’s only indication of his left tackle plan was answering, “Once training camp gets here, we’ll see what happens.”

Mayo was asked if New England might add a left tackle. It sounded possible.

“We’re always trying to bring in good players,” Mayo answered diplomatically. “Those guys (tackles on the roster) are doing well. We’ll see what happens as the roster continues to play out. Realistically, we’re still early in the process, and training camp will reveal a lot.”

The head coach left the door open to bring in more help. Former Commanders left tackle Charles Leno Jr. was among available NFL free agents who should interest the Patriots I’ve previously cited. Longtime Packers LT David Bakhtiai remains on the market but has struggled to stay healthy. For now, it sounds like the Patriots plan is to let the rostered players attempt to earn the job in camp. The door for reinforcements, however, remains open.

Also in today’s Patriots Daily:

Daily Patriots Fun Fact

Including the postseason, there have been four offensive tackles in New England Patriots history to play at least 100 games. Only one has played in 200 games. The leaderboard:

219 – Bruce Armstrong
175 – Matt Light
139 – Marcus Cannon
114 – Nate Solder
98 – Sebastian Vollmer
97 – Shelby Jordan
94 – Brian Holloway
91 – Tom Neville

No other offensive tackle has played more than 76 games for the Patriots.

Post of the Day

Maybe Bill Belichick could pull off an undefeated season like a certain scribe, but only one of us was taking in the Boston Celtics Game 2 victory in the NBA Finals at TD Garden last night:

New England Patriots

Patriots Football Now – Every NFL franchise has something to be excited about heading into a new season. For most fans, the preseason is reason enough to get pumped up. Although the Patriots may not have “burned some cash” this offseason, there is still plenty to pay attention to as training camp and preseason football roles around. Here are 10 reasons for preseason excitement in Foxboro

Patriots Football Now – Eliot Wolf and Jerod Mayo combined to replace Bill Belichick’s roles with the New England Patriots. Drake Maye has been brought aboard as the potential franchise quarterback every NFL team needs to win a championship. But the Patriots are unlikely to compete for hardware in 2024. So, what is the timetable for a return trip to the Super Bowl for New England?

NFL News

Steelers Now – Charles Leno Jr. wasn’t the only available free agent I thought the New England Patriots should be interested in. Another position I targeted on my list was corner. The top corner on the market for me was Steven Nelson of the Houston Texans. However, that possibility is now off the board. Despite several offers, Steven Nelson is retiring from the NFL.

NFL.com – Steven Nelson wasn’t the only player to announce his retirement. In a somewhat expected move, the New York Giants found out they would no longer have the services of their starting tight end. After playing eight NFL seasons, which included a Pro Bowl selection with the Raiders, Darren Waller announced his retirement.

CBS Sports – “All I can do is mature and continue to grow.” Those are the words of Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice. Following an excellent rookie season that ended with a Super Bowl victory, Rice experienced a tumultuous offseason. It included a car crash, an arrest, and an investigation into a second incident. Rice addressed his off-field issues for the first time.

Boston Bruins

Boston Hockey Now – In February, 2025 the first ever “4 Nations Face-Off” will take place. It is a four-team tournament featureing many of the best hockey players in the world. The four nations represented are the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Finland. Good news for Boston hockey fans, TD Garden was selected as a host venue for the 4 Nations Face-Off.

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