The Patriots fired offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo on Monday after two seasons with the team, according to a source familiar with the situation.
DeGuglielmo’s sacking came a day after New England’s 20-18 loss to the Broncos in the AFC Championship game, ending a tumultuous — but often successful — season for the offensive line and the team.
Sunday, however, was the low point. The line allowed the Denver defensive front to pressure quarterback Tom Brady, sacking him four times and hitting him on 20 occasions — the most he’d been hit all season. In the four games prior to Sunday, Brady had been hit a total of 19 times.
DeGuglielmo had drawn praise this season, his second since replacing the retired Dante Scarnecchia, for getting the most out of a patchwork group of linemen. Throughout the summer and into the fall, the story was the unit’s youth, including an interior made up significantly of rookies Tre’ Jackson, David Andrews, and Shaq Mason. Andrews, an undrafted rookie, played every snap at center through Week 10.
Injuries piled up along the way. Center Bryan Stork missed the first half of the season with concussion issues. Left tackle Nate Solder suffered a season-ending torn bicep in Week 5. Guard Ryan Wendell hit injured reserve with a knee problem in Week 10. Tackle Marcus Cannon (four games), tackle Sebastian Vollmer (two games), guard Jackson (two games), and tackle LaAdrian Waddle (one game) also missed time.
In all, the Patriots lost about 40 games worth of linemen availability to injury.
The offensive line held up in the Patriots’ divisional-round win over the Chiefs, when Kansas City reached Brady just once. It briefly looked like the O-line was heading toward a miraculous turnaround for a second year in a row, after early-season unease in 2014 gave way to consistency as the Patriots captured their fourth Super Bowl title.
This ends DeGuglielmo’s latest stint in New England. Born in Cambridge and raised in Lexington, Guge, as he is known, starred on legendary high school coach Bill Tighe’s Lexington teams in the early 1980s. DeGuglielmo moved on to Boston University, where he transformed himself from walk-on to scholarship player and team captain under the tutelage of strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle, as well as future NFL head coaches Tony Sparano and Chris Palmer.
DeGuglielmo’s first two coaching stops were Boston College and BU in the 1990s. He also worked for the Giants, Dolphins, and Jets before joining the Patriots in 2014.