Patriots: Sebastian Vollmer Should Replace Injured Nate Solder


The New England Patriots suffered a major blow this week as it was announced that left tackle Nate Solder will miss the rest of the season with a torn biceps injury. Solder suffered the injury last week against the Dallas Cowboys, and it will require surgery. The Patriots have already placed him on the season ending Injured Reserve list.

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No matter how you look at it, this is a huge loss for the Patriots. While their offensive line has performed well early in the season, left tackle is the single-most important position up front. Protecting Tom Brady‘s blind side is incredibly important, and while Solder was not perfect, there is clearly a void to fill there.

The way I see it, the Patriots have two options in this scenario. What they did against the Cowboys is what immediately comes to mind. Marcus Cannon came in and filled in for Solder at left tackle after the injury, and played well considering the circumstances. Cannon is a powerful offensive lineman who can dominate in the run game, but he has had struggles in pass protection throughout his career.

Cannon has the talent to be considered a starting caliber offensive lineman, but having him protecting Brady’s backside is downright scary. His quickness and footwork on the outside are lacking, which causes many slip-ups when trying to pass protect against outside speed rushers.

Cannon’s skill-set would make for a better fit at the right tackle position, which would force a move for steady right tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Moving Vollmer to the left side to make room for Cannon on the right side is the second option for the team, and the correct decision for this scenario.

When asked about this possible scenario this week at practice, Vollmer was as non-committal as possible, just like Bill Belichick wants him to be.

"“You know, we’ll see,” Vollmer said, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald when asked about a possible position change. “I don’t know, I don’t want to get into details and stuff,” Vollmer continued. “It’s not something I’ve never done before. We’ll see what happens.” “Vollmer was asked the same question a few times before a few different waves of reporters entered the scrum. But clearly, Vollmer had no interest in divulging strategic information when pressed about the topic,” Howe stated."

Simply put, it does not do the Patriots any good to let the Indianapolis Colts or any other teams know what their plans are. You can be sure that Belichick has many different ideas on what to do, and is ready for any situation. The Patriots probably know what they are going to do, but they are not doing themselves any favors by announcing it to the world.

So, like usual, they will be quiet. However, the choice is obvious. Get Vollmer on the left side.

Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer (76) during Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

During Vollmer’s rookie season in 2009, he was pushed into the left tackle position, when Matt Light went down with a season ending injury. Vollmer performed well as a rookie, and has been a consistent force for the team at right tackle ever since.

Vollmer is a strong player with a well-rounded skill-set. The strength of his game is also run blocking, but he is a much better pass protector than Cannon.

Protecting Brady has to be the offensive line’s number one goal. With Solder out, Vollmer at left tackle gives them the best chance to keep their quarterback clean.

Next: Patriots vs. Cowboys: Week 5 Stars

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