With O-line questions, Sebastian Vollmer ready to tackle any challenge
|07.31.11 at 1:21 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots All-Pro right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is capable of handling what he’s had to in his short NFL career. Since becoming a starter as a rookie in 2009, the Germany native has been a big part of Tom Brady‘s success and the overall makeup of the team’s o-line. Now, the uncertainty regarding two other tackles might mean the 27-year-old could be moving to protect Brady’s blind side.
With veteran left tackle Matt Light unsigned and 17th overall pick Nate Solder both unsigned and likely too raw to jump in as a starter at left tackle, Vollmer could potentially end up making the switch for a season.
Vollmer spent his entire second season at right tackle, though he started five games at left as a rookie. As long as the tackle is playing tackle, Vollmer isn’t concerned with where he is on the line.
“Like every player, whatever I’m told, [I’m] going to do to help the team,” Vollmer said after Sunday morning’s practice. “If they want to put me at receiver [I’ll do it], you know? Whatever the coach says, I’ll do.”
He has obviously earned the most acclaim on the right side, as his second-team All-Pro selection came last season as a right tackle, but if circumstances leave Vollmer at left tackle, he doesn’t feel there’s enough of a preference for him to care.
“I don’t think it matters,” Vollmer said. “That’s what practice is about. I have no idea what’s going tomorrow, so you’ve got to be ready to play whatever whenever you’re told to.”
The biggest scenario in which Vollmer could end up at left tackle would be if Light, currently a free agent, is not signed. The Patriots are negotiating to bring Light back, with Pats director of player personnel Nick Caserio saying Sunday morning that the team and the longtime Patriot have had “discussions that are ongoing.”
If Light is not to return, one potential scenario would involve Vollmer moving to left tackle with Solder (who, like Vollmer, stands at a massive 6-foot-8) coming in as a right tackle. Solder was in contact with his new fellow Patriots offensive linemen over the summer, and Vollmer was impressed. Vollmer shared his wisdom with the incoming rookie, or as much wisdom as he felt he had.
“I just tried to talk to him, somewhat tell him what it’s going to be like. As much as I know, but again, what do I know?” he asked with a laugh.
As for whether the Colorado product could come in like Vollmer did and become a starter, Vollmer can’t tell how big a challenge it is for a rookie. After all, he never experienced it the other way.
“I don’t know [if it was more challenging]. It’s the only situation I’ve been in. You practice for those situations. Obviously, you want to play, and when you get called upon, you’ve got to do the best you can. I feel like that’s what I did.”
With the first-rounder still unsigned, Vollmer isn’t worried too much about what Solder, who did not have the benefit of organized team activities and was not allowed the usual contact with his organization in the summer following his selection, will miss. From what he’s seen, Vollmer said he’s just looking forward to seeing Solder come in and “work his butt off.”