FOXBORO, Mass. — Time will tell whether Adrian Klemm can succeed in helping the Patriots offensive line rebound after the horrors of last season.
But New England’s new line coach already is making a strong impression on his players, and his experience has a lot to do with it.
Klemm was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2000 NFL Draft, making him Bill Belichick’s first draft pick as head coach of the Patriots. The former offensive lineman was a relative disappointment over his four years in New England before joining the Green Bay Packers in 2005, his final season in the NFL. But Klemm has risen through the collegiate and professional coaching ranks in the years since, including a three-year stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers and, now, an opportunity with the Patriots.
Klemm’s experience is obvious and helps him earn the respect of his players, according to tackle Calvin Anderson.
“Yeah, I love AK so far,” Anderson said Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “You can tell he played. You can tell he understands the positions we’re in, that we’re put in on the field. And I always have appreciation for guys who’ve understood first-hand what it’s like to be playing. So, got a good knowledge of the game. He’s one of those coaches who can understand how you learn, all the different guys and the different ways they learn. And just how you learn to tailor the teaching to that. So, I have an appreciation for that.”
Fellow tackle Riley Reiff sang a similar tune Tuesday afternoon, saying Klemm has “been an awesome coach” to work with this offseason.
Of course, it’s one thing to impress players during offseason workouts and training sessions, but it’s another to put them in a position to succeed on gameday. The jury remains out on whether Klemm was the right hire for New England.
For now, though, he’s been a welcome addition to a group that sorely needed new leadership.