Will Nate Solder help spell Sebastian Vollmer at RT?
|09.10.11 at 4:38 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Sebastian Vollmer was again a no-show at practice on Saturday and is listed as questionable for Monday night’s season opener in Miami with a bad back.
The bigger question is: If Vollmer is unable to go, who might take his spot at right tackle?
Vollmer is one of just three tackles listed on the roster, joining Matt Light and Nate Solder.
Light hasn’t played there since 2001, when Bill Belichick came to the conclusion that Light is “just a left tackle,” a very good left tackle but just a left tackle.
Solder played some right tackle in the preseason, showing promise in the first game against the Jaguars.
“I don’t know exactly what’s going to go on with that,” Solder said on Friday when asked. “I’m going to play wherever I need to be played. People think that it’s not a big deal but sometimes it is difficult to do that. When you’re playing on the left, you’re going to be working with your inside hand, so a lot of things just flip.
“A lot of things carry over from college but I’m learning so much every day. It’s been a learning process. A lot of the elements stay the same though and some things carry over, which is good.”
Asked earlier in the week, Belichick seemed OK with the thought of putting Solder at right tackle, if needed during an NFL regular season game.
“I think Nate is a pretty versatile guy,” Belichick said. “[He] seems very flexible – athletically, his footwork and so forth. He seems to be very comfortable wherever we put him.”
Belichick confirmed what Solder said about the footwork aspect being the biggest challenge of making any transition along the O-Line.
“Different techniques, yes,” Belichick said. “Playing from inside-out and keeping your weight on your inside foot in pass protection or reach blocking, working with different people – the right guard instead of the left guard. Tight ends are tight ends; they flip sides, but working with different guys next to you in games and blocking combinations, things like that [are some of the challenges.]”
There is one wild-card that could emerge and his name is Logan Mankins. The newly-renewed veteran played some right tackle when he played at Fresno State and it’s widely assumed, given his experience, he could make the transition over to the right side.
That would mean the moving of Brian Waters over to his most natural position at left guard, with Dan Connolly remaining at right guard.
The last possibility is signing one of three offensive linemen off the practice squad but that would also require releasing someone off the 53-man roster.
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