|Dante Scarnecchia: Sebastian Vollmer will play Sunday against the Giants||01.31.12 at 3:18 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia said Tuesday that veteran tackle Sebastian Vollmer will play some sort of role on Sunday against the Giants. Vollmer, who has been on the shelf for the better part of the last two months because of back and foot problems, has been practicing for the last two weeks, and looks like he’ll be good to go.
“He’s very, very strong. He’s got great experience, and is not afraid of anyone. He’s a great alternative,” Scarnecchia said on Tuesday. “He’ll play. He’ll play in this game at some point, whether we have Nate [Solder] outside or him at tackle. He’s going to be out there, and thank God we’ve got him too.
“He’s had a good two weeks of practice,” Scarnecchia added. “He practiced a lot yesterday. Sebastian has been a starting tackle for us for two years and he’s started on the left and he’s started on the right. We think he’s an immensely talented guy. He’s an unselfish guy. How can that every hurt you? Whether he plays ‘X’ number of plays, or plays here or plays there, I’m glad we’ve got him going into this game.”
If Vollmer is able to go, that would give the Patriots some positional versatility at the tackle spot, an area where they have been lacking depth for the last month or so because of injuries to Vollmer and veteran left tackle Matt Light and a key position against a fierce pass rushing team like the Giants. With the inclusion of Vollmer, the Patriots can flex Solder out as an extra tight end and a blocker to try and slow down the New York pass defense (as they did in the first game against the Giants — in that one, Solder played 23 snaps as a tight end in the November loss to New York).
Vollmer was not at media day on Tuesday, but right guard Brian Waters, who has played alongside all three right tackles this season (Vollmer, Solder and rookie Marcus Cannon), said that he’s been impressed with all three of them.
“The one thing I would say about all three of them is that they’re extremely talented, and they’re hardworking for young guys,” Waters said. “Those two things are really enough to help you out. It gives you a lot of confidence in knowing that they have the talent go against anybody. They’re talented in different ways, but yet, they concentrate on the things they need to concentrate on, and that really helps.
“When I first got here, me and Nate, we came in together. The thing about Nate was that he had about a month on me, so we were both pretty inexperienced in this offense. But we both came in together and worked hard and communicated. Those three guys do a great job with that.”
Vollmer hasn’t played any snaps at all since a Week 9 win over the Eagles. Since then, he’s been hampered by back and foot issues. With Vollmer out, Solder has picked up the mantle, only missing 19 snaps since a Week 14 win over Denver.
For his part, Solder said Tuesday that he’s ready if called upon to start, and called Vollmer a “great” mentor.
“We’re always all ready to go. It’s like any game — you prepare as if you’re the starter,” Solder said. “Sebastian has been great, as a mentor, as a similar body type and a way to learn from that. Him, amongst all the other guys, he’s been awesome. All of the o-linemen and all of my teammates have been really helpful in making the adjustment to the bigger stage.”
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