New England Patriots

By Matt Dolloff,

Matt Light, the Patriots newest Hall of Famer, explained how hard it could be for the Pats to replace Nate Solder at left tackle – in a way that only he can.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday after being named as the Patriots’ 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, Light was asked about the team’s quest to replace Solder, who himself took Light’s place after the latter retired. The ever-quotable Light gave his own uniquely descriptive scouting report of Solder and the ideal player to take the torch on Tom Brady’s blind side.

“Nate’s not a guy you can just replace. No. 1, because he’s a ridiculously large mammal,” Light said. “I’ll never forget the first time I met him. I thought, ‘Man, this just shouldn’t be right that guys like this are designed the way they are.’ No fat. Runs like a deer. Got the reach and the wingspan of a vulture. The guy is just unbelievably talented in so many ways, and he’s smart. Nate was a very smart, cerebral player. You’re not gonna be able to replace a guy like that overnight.”

Nate Solder waves to fans as he walks off the field after the Patriots defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2017 AFC Championship Game. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

It wouldn’t be unprecedented, however, if they did find a new left tackle virtually overnight. Light himself stepped in for longtime left tackle and six-time Pro Bowler Bruce Armstrong, who retired after the 2000 season. Light is not ruling out that the Patriots can achieve a similar transition in 2018, even if it’s with a rookie like Isaiah Wynn or trade acquisition like Trent Brown – who, by the way, is a ridiculously large mammal in his own right.

“It’s been done before,” Light said, referring to himself. “They survived me going through that first year of being lost in so many ways and trying to figure things out on the run.”

Between Armstrong, Light, and Solder, the Patriots’ left tackle spot has been seamless for pretty much three decades. Their stability at that position predates even Robert Kraft’s ownership. So it’ll continue to be a situation worth monitoring as the Patriots find their next starter, which remains a towering question mark entering training camp.

But Light’s relatively quick transition and early success should provide confidence that Dante Scarnecchia and the Pats will find the next guy in due time.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at