One point of concern that the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick never really had was along their offensive line. With Pro Bowlers like Matt Light, Dan Koppen, and Logan Mankins, who started a combined 377 games dating back to 2001, the Pats could rely on stout play from 60 percent of their line over most of the past decade. This season, however, with Light retired, Mankins and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer dealing with injuries, and guard Brian Waters still not in camp, the Patriots coaching staff and the their meal ticket (Tom Brady) should have a fair amount of concern.
In 2011, Brady was sacked once per every 19.03 pass attempts, which ranked as the 10th-most in the NFL. Vollmer, who some in the organization believed to be Light’s eventually successor at left tackle, has failed to stay healthy and is still fighting problems in his back, which is quite possibly the worst injury any athlete can deal with. Dan Connolly will most likely be the team’s starting right guard, which leaves the honor of protecting Brady's blindside, as of now, to Nate Solder.
The Patriots selected Solder with the 17th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, and while he started 13 games last season, he also had difficulty handling speed rushers off the edge and at times got beaten to the inside. In the second preseason game, the Pats line was exposed on the edges, giving up two sacks and five QB hits. It's preseason and no one should panicky — yet — but it still wasn’t a good sign.
If Vollmer is unable to stay healthy — which seems likely considering his track record the last two seasons — and Solder is left to man the LT position, what about the right side? Second-year player Marcus Gannon? Rookie Markus Zusevics? Most likely the Patriots will look to the free agent market to try upgrade their line with names like Brandon Keith, former Patriot Ryan O'Callaghan, or wait until the August cuts and make a move then.
Fan Hub Action
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
May 24th, 2013 2:56 PM
May 23rd, 2013 1:49 PM
May 20th, 2013 9:09 AM
ALL TIME FAVES
April 16th, 2013 12:15 PM
April 9th, 2013 11:57 AM
April 16th, 2013 3:48 PM
March 1st, 2013 8:37 AM