State Guy: Part I.
Thuney is the most versatile guy in this Draft.
[he] is really a tremendous athlete," Scarnecchia said. "I think he's a really smart kid. He has a really good playing style. He's a good person.
[Joe] was going to be their center, started at guard, started at left tackle,
all in a great conference. He's got good size. Really good measurables. We feel like he's got the traits that we covet for people that come in here."
So he sacrificed for the team by playing out of position to protect Brissett's
back at NC State.
started every game in 2015 at OLT. He started at four different O-line
positions at NC State: SOPHOMORE (2013): Started the opener at right
tackle. The second game at right guard, and the last 10 games at left tackle. Was listed as the team’s starting center heading into fall camp. Elected to serve on the team’s Leadership Council for 2013. Earned the Jim Ritcher Award for the team’s most valuable offensive
He has played at all
five OL positions in practice.
"He’s played both [OG spots], and he was going to start at center,
I think it was his sophomore year, so he’s actually played in there, not
in the actual games but he did that," Belichick said. "It’s a
discussion we kind of had with Light too. When we drafted Light we kind of
thought that we worried a little bit about his length. My wisdom to try to
put him at right tackle, try to play him at guard, he was brutal,
couldn’t do anything. So, we played him back at left tackle and he had a
great career." He would sometimes play four different positions along the O-line in a single practice during the week.
He too often
blocked like an interior linemen at Left Tackle last season. "We
drafted him to play inside, and also knowing in a pinch he could help us
outside," Scarnecchia said. "He's going to be an inside player
unless disaster hits. We've done it with others. He's just another one in
the line." He is not an O-tackle in the NFL.
who knows him say he has top character and work ethic. "I
think he's really a tremendous athlete," Scarnecchia said. "I
think he's a really smart kid. He has a really good playing style. He's a
good person. We feel like he's got the traits that we covet for people
that come in here." He likes to square up like a guard, extend both hands, and grab shirt. He is very effective when he does that, especially when he keeps his feet moving.
more I watched his film at NC State the less I think he can step out and
play OLT. "[He's]
to be on the shorter end of that relative to left tackles," BB said.
"[Like] Mankins, we played him at left tackle a couple games in a
similar situation with him. Left tackle at first, now put him inside.
There were points in his career when he went out and played left tackle
and played it pretty good. Could he have played left tackle? Probably, but
it just didn’t work out that way. We’ll see. It’s a little different
in this league than it is in college. A lot of these guys don’t meet the
dimensions but are still good football players one way or another so
we’ll see." When you are playing OLT, you
have to turn your body at an angle and play in a kickslide moving backwards. He did not show that ability at NC State.
He can use his feet very well to catch the rusher moving a little laterally
outside, but the technique he used in pass pro at NC State too often is
not viable on the NFL level. "I
think to a degree, obviously [arm] length is important, but really when
you think about it, his arms are 32 inches," Scarnecchia said.
"Matt Light's arms were 33. If you play the game like a tyrannosaurus
rex, you're not going to have a whole lot of success in pass protection.
But if you're something different than that, if you use what you've got,
then you have a chance." So despite all the optimism, he is an
inside player only.
He has great hands to clamp on
a rusher and never lets go. He also does have great quick feet. "I
is really a tremendous athlete," Scarnecchia said. "I think he's
a really smart kid. He has a really good playing style. He's a good
was going to be their center, started at guard, started at left tackle,
in a great conference. He's got good size. Really good measurables. We
feel like he's got the traits that we covet for people that come in
here." He doesn't kickslide very often, but he does have great feet that he
always keeps moving. He is a great feet and hands athlete.
He too often gets his hands out wide to grab the shirt outside the pads. He will grab shirt nicely
inside sometimes and pull down, but too often he is pulling down shirt from outside the shoulder pads.
He has to keep his hands inside. He always seems to drop back with his hands out wide like wings. He can double down on the DT with some power, and turn back to his left to pick up the rusher coming outside him on a delay. Vicious cut blocker.
He gets beat too easily by speed outside.
see. We’ll put him out there," Caserio said. "Probably put him
inside, put him outside, it might depend on who he’s working with.
[We'll] try him with different groups. Maybe you try him at tackle with
this group, maybe he works inside with this group. So I think Dante does a
great job sort of moving those guys around. Ultimately we try to find what
they’re best position is." So far in Camp it has been OLG
with the starters.
He might a three position player, but he is not a five position player in the NFL.
"Here, it’s a lot of
time," Thuney said. "It’s just such an elite level. Everyone you play against is just the best of the best, so you’ve got to be on the top of your game every day. You’ve got to come in with a fresh attitude, trying to get better. That whole preparation process is what I’m keying on right now."
He can kickslide,
but too often has to chicken wing his arms against speed.
Which means he doesn't have the
speed to be outside against speed rushers in the NFL. "There’s just a bunch of different looks that are
unique," Thuney said about D-ends lining up inside to rush in the
NFL. "They’re playing some vanilla and some exotic looks. I think that it’s just preparing before practice in the meeting room, and just understanding what they’re trying to accomplish and how we’re going to defend against that and how to block them efficiently."
He looks so much better when he blocks down on the DT.
He turns to the angle too late sometimes on the edge, which allows smaller quicker rushers to get past
him so he has to learn technique inside. "Everyone on the line is communicating, the whole
process," Thuney said. "They move so much on the defense, we’re just everyone trying to be on the same page and execute a play, everyone knowing exactly what they’re supposed to do. The whole communication process goes all the way up to the snap with everyone." He is always shuffling his feet and not kicksliding. That is why he will move inside to OG.
the good news is that he and Scarnecchia have developed a good relationship
already. "He came to my pro day," Thuney said about Scar. "And we sat down before and went over some film and board stuff, and went over some plays and hashed that
out. He worked me out with the different drills. I have a really good relationship with him, I
think. And we got along well, and I’m going to be happy to play for him."
He likes to meet the rusher at the pass, and helmet butt him and then shove and grab shirt.
has come to camp and grabbed the OLG spot, because of injuries to the
projected starters. So he has been facing the great depth in the Pats'
D-line every day in Camp. "The competition on the other side of the ball, they’re elite players being Patriots defensive
players," Thuney said. "So it’s going to be a challenge each day, but it’s certainly fun trying to grow and get
better." He was the most versatile OL in the Draft this year.
now his job is to make the transition in the NFL, and back inside.
"Great," Thuney said when asked how he is transitioning. "The other OL guys have been really good, helping with the details of the position. There’s been a lot of film study, a lot of understanding of the playbook and what each position does, and how they do
it. So I think film and trying to pay attention to the details have helped me a lot."
Plus, being Scar's guy doesn't hurt either.
has shown that he can stand up to the rough stuff against the veterans in
one on ones. "For sure," Thuney said. "It is an intense drill, but it’s very valuable. You’re just working on a pass play and you’re working on your pass technique, and it’s really valuable to get that live rep. It’s that quick-tempoed rep and it’s valuable to get a lot of reps in there."
I like the way he has moved on the field in Training Camp.
He is not going to play O-Tackle in the NFL, but in the NFL you can only
dress seven OLs on game day.
"I don’t think it’s a drawback," Thuney said. "I think it just shows
versatility. Football is an intense game, and you never know when you have to switch from right guard to left guard, or center to guard or guard to center. I think it’s an advantage to have experience at all five positions. We practice a lot, so there is plenty of time to hone our technique and do the best that we can at each position. I think that it was a plus."
So having a guy who can step and play all three interior OL positions is a huge
benefit on game day.
He could step into the
ORT position in a super-emergency situation, like
last year. "I
think to a degree, obviously length is important, but really when you
think about it, his arms are 32 inches," Scarnecchia said. "Matt
Light's arms were 33. If you play the game like a tyrannosaurus rex,
you're not going to have a whole lot of success in pass protection. But if
you're something different than that, if you use what you've got, then you
have a chance." But he will need help on his outside shoulder
verse speed when he does, like when Fleming was at OLT.
like the year before when Mankins was able to step in at
OLT when the depth was destroyed by injury. "Logan
Mankins played tackle for us, started in two games at tackle," Scar
said. "I don't know what his [arm] length is, but I know he knows how
to use his hands. I think that's the whole discussion on all that.
Everybody says 'well a guy's got 36 inch arms!' Yeah but if he doesn't use
them what difference does it make? I think that's really important."
Last season they didn't have an inside guy who was versatile
enough to step outside at OLT when they lost four starters at once at
O-Tackle: Solder, Vollmer, Cannon, and Waddle. I think Thuney's best comparison
I'm not saying he is an NFL OT in anyway, except as an absolute emergency
last resort like last season when Stork had to play ORT.
"I think I see myself as more of an interior guy, more as a guard or
center," Thuney said. "If it gets to a pinch in the game, I can go at
tackle. But it’s really wherever Coach wants me to play. And I have experience at all five
[spots on the OL]. So wherever he sees me best, I think that’s the best fit for me." They
think he can be a last resort starter at OLT or ORT, like Mankins and
Stork had to do. I don't think he can play as well as Mankins did at OLT.
But he could be better at ORT than Stork.
Scarnecchia returning as the Pats' OL coach, it is hard to argue with a
player that he has hand picked. "He came to my pro day, and we sat down before and went over some film and board stuff, and went over some plays and hashed that
out," Thuney said. "He worked me out with the different drills. I have a really good relationship with him, I think, and we got along well, and I’m going to be happy to play for
him." I was not a Thuney guy in the Draft, but he has been proving me
wrong so far in Training Camp.
big injury has been Shaq. Scar likes to have a more athletic OLG who can:
block on the move in the Zone game, pull to both sides, and hitting defenders
on the move. "Just on the interior, I feel more comfortable," Thuney said.
"I don’t have the typical length of a typical NFL tackle. But I feel like I move and pull and have the leverage on the interior."
We will see what happens now that Shaq is getting himself back onto the field.
all know how Scarnecchia likes the Zone blocking schemes. "The thing he's best at is what you see on film: he's physical, a very good run-blocker, especially in the zone
game," Thuney's OL coach at NC State Uremovich said. "He's athletic, and he's held up well in pass protection. He's going to make his name by all of the stuff he does before the game:
film study, repetition, technique work, so he can play well on Sundays."
He always looked better against DTs at NC State then against the speed
Jackson and Mason unable to practice, he has been starting at OLG since
day one . "I don’t think it’s a drawback," Thuney said.
" I think it just shows versatility. Football is an intense game, and you never know when you have to switch from right guard to left guard, or center to guard or guard to center. I think it’s an advantage to have experience at all five positions. We practice a lot, so there is plenty of time to hone our technique and do the best that we can at each position. I think that it was a
plus." If the other young Vets don't get on the field soon, Thuney is
going to get a strangle hold on the OLG position.
is not the end of the world. Shaq and Kline have finally gotten back on
the field this week. Though Shaq has not quite practiced yet. He has just
been seen being coached by Scar on what he expects from him on each play
during practice. The goods news is that Shaq actually was the starting ORG
at Georgia Tech his senior season. So Scar could be ready for
transitioning him to ORG if Jackson's knee doesn't come around. Word
coming out of Foxboro is that his knee might be worse than we hope.
Remember, Jackson had one of those tricky knee injuries where doctors
would say he could play 10 games or 10 years. It is starting to look like
don't be surprised if Thuney is starting at OLG and Shaq is starting at
ORG against New Orleans Thursday night. Both are being personally coached
up by Scar in training camp like they are his kids. Plus Kline is back on
the field again. You have to remember that in the first half of last
season, he might have been the OL MVP as he switched back and further
between ORG (when Shaq was in) and OLG (when Jackson was in), as they
played Shaq at OLG and Jackson at ORG only. So Kline might have to play a similar
role again to help Thuney grow into the starting OLG position.
chose this Tape because this is the best I ever saw him play. But it also
is the Tape that shows his NFL readiness at OLG the most, and that is the
point of all this. He struggles against speed rushers, and has trouble
getting his hands on speedsters and grabbing shirt. But when he blocks
down on big guys he consistently wins, and that is what he will be doing
for the Pats. Louisville plays a 3-4, with sub packages that mainly has
two D-tackles in. So he was blocking the big interior guys all game, and winning
when he had to step outside against speed, he struggled. There were a
number of times he couldn't get his hands in the speedster's shirt. He also was
demonstrating some great combo blocks. Something he will be doing as a
Patriot every day. He was hitting and shoving guys on the line, and then
going and grabbing the shirt of the slower ILBs all game. This is very
important as well, because as every day in Training Camp goes by it looks more and more like he will be the
starter on Opening Day in Arizona.
he is in a two-point stance. He goes forward right into the 5-Tech. He gets
his hands up, you can see how low he gets and he keeps his hands inside
the 5-T's shoulders. He is a natural knee bender. He too often gets his hands outside the pads against speed (:01). Then
he shuffles his feet to the side in the Zone block. He will be doing that
exact technique for the Pats a lot if he starts at OLG. He tends to short
set or shuffle back
and not kickslide in pass pro, which you can get away with at OLG but not
OLT in the NFL.
he is in Pass Pro. He is a little high, and watch how he shuffles his feet
instead of kicksliding. But he is going against the 5-tech, and once he
grabs shirt the rush is over for the big guy (:18). He
gets his inside hand on the 5-tech easily, but he can't reach the outside
blitzer (:26). Nice
zone block outside to the left, which he will be doing at OLG. Notice the
great initial quickness to get inside position (:33). Here he is pulling outside to the left, like an OLG. He gets a punch in on a defender,
and then watch him come off that block and seal the LB inside (:41). The
last two plays are both something he will be doing for the Pats, and his
technique was perfect.
gets back looking at the OLB, but then picks up the 5-Tech, who just can't
challenge him at all. He gets hold, and you get a good look at the nice
power in his 6-inch punch that snaps the 5-Techs head back (:49). This
is a very nice block. You can see how he short sets and shuffles his feet
like an OLG
(1:04). Then he jams his shoulder into the OLB stunting inside. Then watch
his alertness as he reads the stunt shuffles outside a little and stones
takes the DE on the outside rush. But he's no speedster, and they still
chip with the RB on the Corner (1:12). He shows a nice lateral burst
outside after the shove inside in slowmo (1:21). He picks up
the big 5-Tech, who then sets the edge, shoves off Thuney and sacks the QB
(1:28). He tries to get outside and block the OLB in space, but he
misses do to the OLB quickness and falls down (1:39). He does a great
job shuffling outside to cut off the speed rusher (1:47). He is so
good at blocking down on DTs (2:03). He
plays so well low, with leverage and balance. He gets his hands into the
DT, and see how he is pulling him up as he is powering him back. That is
an NFL block.
zone blocking Pass Pro, which they will be doing in Foxboro on miss
direction plays like this (2:12). He just stones the 5-Tech in
Pass Pro. Look at his great natural knee bend that keeps him under the
5-Tech (2:36). He he is zone blocking outside on the
Draw (2:43). He looks so good blocking inside on the big guys (2:52). He
lets him curl inside, and then stones him with his hands, feet, and
the lateral bursts as he seals the D-end inside, and keeps his feet moving (3:06). Zone
blocking the D-end to the second level (3:14). He blocks the
5-Tech with one hand while he watches the OLB (3:22). Whenever
he blocks down on the DT he just stones him. See how he keeps his hands on
his pads and moves his feet. But they also pull the ORG over to block the
edge, not Thuney (3:29). They have to give him help on the edge
verse speed. See how he shuffles back like OLG not an OLT (3:38). Watch
this Combo block in the Zone blocking scheme (3:45). He powers
into the DT, keeps his feet and momentum moving to the side until the DT
falls down. Then he bursts to the second level and takes out the ILB. If he
can do that in NFL he will play for a long time.
the OLB outside with natural knee bend, feet and hands (4:01).
Another great power block on the DT. He is going to have to do that for
the Pats (4:07). He reaches a little for the 5-tech, gets pushed up,
and knocked out of the play (4:17). He doubles teams the D-End back
past the marker (4:25). Look how low he is in his stance. You have to
have that natural knee bend and leverage to get under the big DTs in the
NFL (4:40). He holds up the big DT, but can't push him back.
gets his hands up quickly, stays low, and shuffles his feet to keep the
5-Tech at the line (4:46). Boom. He is on the 5-tech again before he
can gain an inch, and the rush is instantly over (4:57). He misses
the block (5:15). He gets a nice combo block. You can see his
football intelligence. He shoves the OLB (5:37). And then looks at the
DB. He sees his teammate is going to take him so he turns and takes out
does it again. He hits the DT and anchors. Then he knows the OLG has him,
so he slides off and hits the ILB (5:44). He seals the LB as he
shoves him up and back (5:52). He does a nice job using his lateral
quickness to cut off the speed rusher at the pass (6:03). Watch the
range as he bursts outside laterally to seal the OLB (6:10). He
powers the DT back past the marker on 2nd and 1 (6:19). Watch the
anchor and recovery as he has to keep his hands up and burst laterally to
keep cutting off the Big DT (6:28). Watch the power in his hands as
he shoves the DT inside with a great initial burst (6:43). Then the suddenness
to snap back to the ILB, get position, and hold him out of the play.
is why he can't play OLT in the NFL. His kickslide is slow, and he knows
it. So he over slides and gives up the inside. But he is able to shift his
weight and recover nicely, and block him up through his armpit (6:50).
Once he gets his hands into the big inside guys they are done rushing. He
has a great low anchor (7:03). He showed some speed in his
kickslide there (7:17). That was the fastest I've ever seen him
slide. Then he gets his hands on his shirt, a helmet butt, and he is
washing the speedster away.
zone block. He can feel himself a little out of position so he tries to
cut the defender, and gets just enough to keep him out of the play (7:35).
He kickslides back smoothly and cuts off the speed rusher. Watch the nice
hands as he recovers from the double chop (7:43). He drops back and
stones the OLB (7:49). Stones the speed again. He seems to play better
as the game goes on (7:56). Watch the recovery as he starts to
kickslide outside, and then snaps inside to stone the inside move (8:04).
I thought that was his best game all season.
AS A RS JUNIOR (2014):
• Missed four games with mononucleosis, but was still one of the top performers on the offensive line from his left guard position.
• Played every offensive snap in eight of the nine games in which he saw action.
AS A RS SOPHOMORE (2013):
• Started the opener at right tackle, the second game at right guard and the last 10 games at left tackle.
• Was listed as the team’s starting center heading into fall camp.
• Elected to serve on the team’s Leadership Council for 2013.
• Earned the Jim Ritcher Award for the team’s most valuable offensive lineman.
AS A RS FRESHMAN (2012):
• Played in eight games behind Remington Award candidate Cam Wentz
AS A FRESHMAN (2011):
• Redshirted the season, he was named the offensive scout team player of the week for the North Carolina game.
IN HIGH SCHOOL:
• Two-year starter for coach Ed Domsitz.
• Helped lead team to an 1113 record and a spot in the semifinals of the state playoffs.
• Member of two D4 football state championship teams.
• Two-year starter in basketball, he led the GCL in rebounding as a junior .
• Served as President of his senior class.
• Honors: Voted Greater Catholic League Lineman of the Year in 2010. An all-state performer.
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