The New England Patriots sound positive about the prospects of Shaq Mason contributing on the offensive line. It is just a matter of if it will be this season or next season.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
What seems to be the issue preventing the Patriots from coming right out and saying that Shaq Mason’s time is now is Mason’s ability to pick-up pass blocking schemes.
This was seen as an issue, though not a major issue, when Shaq left Georgia Tech because the Yellow Jackets are a run first, second, third, and fourth offense with the passing game coming into the fold every so often.
But Shaq Mason has the athletic ability, work ethic and intelligence to make the transition into NFL style offensive line play and succeed.
Coach Paul Johnson vouched for his All-American lineman’s ability to transition into the pros and get it done. This is what Johnson was quoted as saying in a weei.com piece written by Christopher Price:
“I don’t think there’s any question he’ll be able to make the move from college to the pros as an offensive lineman. People make too big a deal out of that transition — there are plenty of players in his shoes who have done the same thing, and done it well. He’s a good player and has good feet and knows how to use that leverage to his advantage.”
Georgia Tech fans who have watched Shaq Mason have no doubts about his ability to make the transition either.
Let’s face it, the Patriots have faith that he can get the hang of pass blocking or they would not have taken him in the fourth round with the 131st pick.
The main person associated with the Patriots that you would want to hear has faith that Shaq can get it done said as much. That person would be head coach Bill Belichick.
Belichick was quoted as saying in effect that he was pleased with what he saw at the Senior Bowl out of Mason and that his ability to learn quick is going to bode well for him.
This is how Coach Belichick put it in the weei.com piece:
“Watching him at the Senior Bowl– I mean, it was only one week, but he made a huge improvement just in those, whatever it was, four or five practices, whatever it was down there. You could see each day progressively how he was taking to the coaching down there and his footwork and his hand placement and his body position. I know it was basic. It wasn’t like it was a big scheme thing at the Senior Bowl, but just doing things on a daily basis better than the day before, [he was] looking more comfortable doing them.”
The idea of having Shaq Mason transition from playing right guard to playing center is still on the table in New England.
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However, when you look at the offensive line situation of the Patriots for 2015, Shaq Mason is going to be more of an understudy than a potential starter or as Christopher Price put it, “a situational blocker” for now.
Shaq Mason is going to be taken care of with the Patriots and will be able to make a contribution at some point for their offensive line.
If he does end up playing center though, here’s a word of advice; if the ball feels flat, call a timeout and put your hands in the air like when NBA players are protesting a foul.
We will believe you when you say you had nothing to do with it.