Patriots second-year tackle Matt Light has seemingly struggled at times this season, but according to Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick he is playing better than he did a year ago.
While it has appeared that Light has struggled in not only being beaten by speed-rushers such as Miami's Jason Taylor he has also been called for eight penalties this season, including three holding calls and four false starts. But when asked Thursday morning about Light's play and the poor public perception of his play, Belichick responded strongly.
"I wouldn't agree with that. I don't think so," Belichick said. "I mean there was some pressure there last year without getting into numbers and all that. I mean our sacks this year are basically half what they were last year per attempt and all that, not a game by game basis. For the same number of times last year that we've thrown it this year, we are probably being sacked half as much. It doesn't get into the pressures and hits and all that, but there were some of those last year too.
"I think he has improved. He has definitely improved. I don't think there is any question about that. He's much better than he was last year. I'm not saying he's finished, he's still got things he can work on and he's got a ways to go. But I think his protection is definitely better than it was last year, it's not even close."
After playing in 14 games including 12 starts as a rookie Light, looked to be well on his way to the tough transition from standout college lineman to the tough job of left tackle in the NFL. While the 2001 second round pick had an up and down rookie season, dealing with various injuries and the long NFL season, the he still feels his development is going well.
"[My play] is better than last year, yeah," Light said. "There are still a lot of things I have to get done and there is still a learning process for me in some ways, but I think it has been better than last year."
And when asked whether he keeps track of the sacks he allows or compares the specific statistics like some offensive linemen in the league, Light said he hasn't reached that comfort level in his career yet.
"I don't really look at that," Light said. "[Opponents] are going to make plays, I know that. I am not saying that you will ever go through a season with…I never say I want to give up 'X' amount sacks this year. What I do think about is when I'll watch last year's tape when we played Miami and I'll see what problems I have."
With the Patriots throwing the ball more this season Light maintains one of the most important positions on the field. In protecting the blind side of Tom Brady he is in a position where he must be successful at his job or the entire offense can suffer. And while neither Belichick nor Light believes he is a finished product, both feel he is well on his way to being Brady's chief protector.
The Patriots made an addition to the injury report on Thursday by adding cornerback Ty Law (leg) and listing him as Probable. Guard Joe Andruzzi (knee) and safety Tebucky Jones (leg) remain Questionable for Sunday's game with the Vikings. Andruzzi practiced on Thursday, but Jones did not.
The Vikings injury report went unchanged as well.
Womack stays on reserve list
Rookie running back Antwoine Womack was placed on Injured Reserve on Thursday. The 2002 seventh round draft pick out of Virginia had been practicing with the team for the past 21 days as the final stage of his time spent on the Reserve Non-Football Injury list. Womack is recovering from surgery on his knee to repair damage done in college. By rule, the team had to make a decision today to either activate Womack or place him on Injured Reserve for the rest of the season. By being placed on IR, Womack is no longer eligible to practice with the team.
Newest Patriot Dean Wells ended his short career with the team on Thursday by retiring. Wells had signed with the team just a day earlier after having been out of football. The veteran previously had a successful nine-year career with the Seahawks and the Panthers.
With Wells' retirement the Patriots now have one open spot on the 53-man roster.