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Patriots position-by-position breakdown: Offensive line 02.20.16 at 6:06 am ET
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Injuries to the likes of Sebastian Vollmer (76) affected the Patriots' offensive line all season. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports)

Injuries to the likes of Sebastian Vollmer (76) affected the Patriots’ offensive line all season. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports)

With the Patriots done for the season, we’ve got an end-of-the-year position-by-position breakdown of where the Patriots stand and what figures to be the strengths and weaknesses for the team at that position going forward. We started our overview with the quarterbacks, secondary, the running backs, the linebackers and the wide receivers. Now we move on to the offensive line:

Depth chart: LT Nate Solder, LG Josh Kline, C Bryan Stork, RG Tre’ Jackson, RT Sebastian Vollmer, G Shaq Mason, G/C David Andrews, T Marcus Cannon, T Cameron Fleming, T LaAdrian Waddle, G Chris Barker.

Overview: A breakdown is exactly what this group had in the second half of the 2015 season. The unit has already begun an overhaul from what was a tumultuous end to 2015. The line allowed four sacks of Tom Brady in the AFC championship and gave up a stunning 17 quarterback hits to the Denver defense. That combined with the pressure Brady felt throughout the second half of the season cost Dave DeGuglielmo his job and sparked the return from retirement of offensive line guru Dante Scarnecchia. In defense of DeGuglielmo, the entire starting group was never on the field at once in 2015, as starting left tackle Nate Solder went down in Week 5 against Dallas with an arm injury. Starting center Bryan Stork didn’t debut in the regular season until Week 9 against the Redskins. Still, the line was one of the bright spots in the first half of the season, as the Patriots were going about their offensive routine without seemingly missing a beat, as first-year players David Andrews (filling in for Stork at center) and guards Shaq Mason and Tre’ Jackson did their jobs at a very solid level. Age and health are two major concerns at the tackle spots. Solder has been remarkably resilient in dealing with testicular cancer and now a torn biceps. Vollmer, who turns 32 in July, has dealt with a bad back, concussions and a broken leg. He played in the playoffs with a bad ankle sprain when Joey Iosefa fell on it during the loss to the Jets in Week 16.

An re-dedication to the running game would start with an effort upfront to win one-on-one battles, something they could not do in the second half of the season on a regular basis and certainly failed at in the AFC championship. As we noted in the overview of the running backs, a big key to the Patriots’ running game in 2016 will be the continued development of rookie guards Shaq Mason (drafted out of Georgia Tech for his run-blocking skill) and Tre’ Jackson. If those two, along with third-year center Bryan Stork mature in the middle of the line, the Patriots’ running game could pick up where it left off when Lewis was injured.

The Patriots most certainly figure to address the top-tier depth of the offensive line through free agency (like Jacksonville’s Stefen Wisniewski) and/or in the higher rounds of the draft. The Patriots need to re-establish the toughness they showed after Week 4 in 2014, when they began winning one-on-one battles on a regular basis.

Who will stay? The easy ones are Solder (signed through 2017), Stork, Mason, Jackson, Andrews, Kline (signed through 2017). The question marks are Vollmer (signed through 2016) and Cannon (signed through 2016), Waddle, Barker

Who will go? Fleming.

By the numbers: 12 — The Patriots had twelve different starting offensive line combinations in 18 games this season, thanks to the injuries that began with Bryan Stork’s neck/concussion at the beginning of the season and carried through with Solder’s biceps, Vollmer’s ankle and the knees of Tre’ Jackson and Shaq Mason.

Read More: 2016 position-by-position breakdown, Cam Fleming, Dante Scarnecchia, Dave DeGuglielmo
Have Patriots finally found an offensive line combination that works? 11.26.15 at 7:00 am ET
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Sebastian Vollmer has been a major part to the Patriots offensive line this season. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Sebastian Vollmer has been a major part to the Patriots offensive line this season. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

For the majority of the season it’s been a whole lot of mixing and matching for the Patriots on their offensive line.

Nate Solder was lost for the season with torn triceps. Bryan Stork didn’t play in the first seven games because he was on injured reserve designated for return. Marcus Cannon missed a number of games with a toe injury. And finally, Sebastian Vollmer missed a game with a concussion.

For the first time all season Monday night, the Patriots were relatively healthy up front, with the exception of Solder and Tre’ Jackson missing the game with a knee injury.

While the Patriots continued with their trademark rotation — using four combinations over their 13 drives — they seemed to settle on one that worked.

On nine of the 13 drives, New England’s line went (from left to right): Marcus Cannon, Shaq Mason, Bryan Stork, Josh Kline and Sebastian Vollmer.

Two things that stood out were Stork and Vollmer didn’t start the game, but played major roles and center David Andrews appeared to get phased out during the game.

Cameron Fleming started at right tackle on the first drive, but didn’t play the rest of the game (besides one play as an extra tackle.) Andrews centered the first two drives, but on 10 of the final 11 it was Stork. The lone exception was the eighth drive of the game when Andrews played center and Stork slid over to right guard.

“Well, we played all seven players on the offensive line, all three tackles and all four inside guys,” Bill Belichick said. “Stork is still working his way back from the time he missed in training camp and the early part of the season, so trying to work him back in there some, too, along with David and Shaq [Mason] and Josh [Kline]. At some point Tre’€™ Jackson, whenever that happens, whenever he’€™s ready, we’€™ll see how that goes.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bryan Stork, David Andrews, Josh Johnson, Marcus Cannon
Jamie Collins, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, Tre’ Jackson all out vs. Giants 11.13.15 at 4:44 pm ET
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Jamie Collins has been ruled out for a second straight game with an illness. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Jamie Collins has been ruled out for a second straight game with an illness. (Elsa/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The Patriots will be without several regular starters when they take the field on Sunday against the Giants.

The team, on Friday afternoon, ruled out Jamie Collins, Sebastian Vollmer, Tre’ Jackson and Marcus Cannon, all of whom missed all three practice this week.

Collins is reportedly dealing with a virus and has had trouble eating much of anything all week. He was added to the injury report last Saturday. This will be his second straight game missed.

Vollmer sustained a concussion in the first half of the win over Washington while right guard Tre’ Jackson injured his knee in the fourth quarter of the win over the Dolphins. Marcus Cannon injured his toe against the Colts and has missed the last three games.

Limited players Friday again included: Keshawn Martin, Shaq Mason, Justin Coleman and Jabaal Sheard and all are questionable for Sunday. Julian Edelman and Duron Harmon were able to fully participate and are probable to play.

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
OL Marcus Cannon (toe) OUT
OL Tre’€™ Jackson (knee) OUT
OL Sebastian Vollmer (concussion) OUT
LB Jamie Collins (illness) OUT

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Julian Edelman (knee) PROBABLE
WR Keshawn Martin (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE
OL Shaq Mason (knee) QUESTIONABLE
CB Justin Coleman (hand) QUESTIONABLE
DE Jabaal Sheard (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
DB Duron Harmon (knee) PROBABLE

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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Read More: Jamie Collins, Marcus Cannon, New England Patriots, New York Giants
Jamie Collins, Sebastian Vollmer among 4 missing from Patriots practice again at 12:44 pm ET
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Jamie Collins

Jamie Collins

FOXBORO — Things are not promising for Jamie Collins returning Sunday against the Giants.

The linebacker missed his third straight practice on Friday after turning up on the injury report last Saturday with an illness.

Collins reportedly has been dealing with a virus and has been unable to eat much this week as he recovers.

Also missing again Friday in a windy day of practice in shorts and shells were Sebastian Vollmer (concussion), Tre’ Jackson (knee) and Marcus Cannon (toe). All three linemen have been absent all week, leading to the presumption that the Patriots will have to make a move before Sunday’s game with the Giants to shore up their offensive line.

The Patriots, who dressed just six offensive linemen last week against Washington, practiced all week with just five regular offensive linemen on the 53-man roster. That does not include tight end and former tackle Michael Williams and the four offensive linemen on their 10-man practice squad, one or more of whom could be activated over the weekend.

With Dion Lewis going on the injured reserve list on Monday, the Patriots are one below the 53-man threshold. It’s expected the Patriots would activate one of their four offensive linemen from the practice squad for depth on Sunday. The prime candidate would appear to be Chris Barker, a 25-year-old guard who was undrafted out of Nevada. He has spent parts of the last two seasons on the Patriots practice squad.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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Read More: Jamie Collins, Marcus Cannon, New England Patriots, New York Giants
LB Jamie Collins, OL Sebastian Vollmer among those missing at start of Patriots practice 11.12.15 at 1:05 pm ET
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FOXBORO — For the second straight day, linebacker Jamie Collins and offensive linemen Tre’ Jackson and Marcus Cannon and Sebastian Vollmer were all not spotted at the start of Patriots practice, held in cold and rainy conditions on the playing fields behind Gillette Stadium.

Collins is reportedly dealing with a virus, while Vollmer (concussion), Cannon (toe) and Jackson (left knee) are also all suffering from various ailments while the team continues to prepare for Sunday’s game against the Giants in North Jersey.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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Read More: Jamie Collins, Marcus Cannon, Sebastian Vollmer, Tre Jackson
Patriots injury report Wednesday: Jabaal Sheard (ankle) limited, Jamie Collins, Sebastian Vollmer among 4 absent 11.11.15 at 5:16 pm ET
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The Patriots worked out inside the field house on Wednesday in a walkthrough. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The Patriots worked out inside the field house on Wednesday in a walkthrough. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — The Patriots practice week started in light fashion with a walkthrough inside the Empower Field House Wednesday as the team avoided the dreary, raw elements outdoors.

Four players were missing, including three offensive linemen and linebacker Jamie Collins. Sebastian Vollmer suffered concussion symptoms in the win over Washington while Marcus Cannon (toe) and Tre’ Jackson (left knee) were also missing.

Jamie Collins, who showed up on the injury report on Saturday before the Redskins game, was again missing on Wednesday.

The biggest news was the return of Jabaal Sheard, the defensive lineman who has missed the last three games with an ankle injury. The defensive end was among six players limited.

The Patriots will practice on Thursday and Friday before they leave for New Jersey and Sunday’s game against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

Here’s Wednesday’s full report:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
OL Marcus Cannon (toe)
OL Tre’ Jackson (knee)
OL Sebastian Vollmer (concussion)
LB Jamie Collins (illness)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Julian Edelman (knee)
WR Keshawn Martin (hamstring)
OL Shaq Mason (knee)
CB Justin Coleman (hand)
DE Jabaal Sheard (ankle)
DB Duron Harmon (knee)

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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Read More: Jabaal Sheard, Jamie Collins, Marcus Cannon, New England Patriots
Jabaal Sheard (ankle), Marcus Cannon (toe), Tre’ Jackson (knee) all out vs. Redskins, Ryan Wendell doubtful 11.06.15 at 4:33 pm ET
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Jabaal Sheard

Jabaal Sheard

FOXBORO — Jabaal Sheard and Marcus Cannon have been ruled out for a third straight game as the Patriots prepare to take on the Redskins Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Sheard (ankle) and Cannon (toe) both suffered injuries against the Colts

Meanwhile, rookie right guard Tre’ Jackson injured his left knee in the fourth quarter of the win over the Dolphins and has also been ruled out. He, like Sheard and Cannon, missed practice all week.

Julian Edelman and offensive lineman Ryan Wendell were both added to the injury report on Wednesday with knee issues. Edelman, who was limited in practice all week, is officially listed as probable while Wendell has been listed as doubtful. It’s been a frustrating season for Wendell, as he missed the first five games due to a mysterious illness.

Duron Harmon, who missed Thursday’s practice to be on hand for the birth of his second son, was back at practice on Friday. He fully participated and was removed from the report.

Here’s Friday’s full report:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
OL Marcus Cannon (toe) OUT
OL Tre’ Jackson (knee) OUT
DE Jabaal Sheard (ankle) OUT

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Julian Edelman (knee) PROBABLE
RB Dion Lewis (abdomen) PROBABLE
WR Keshawn Martin (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE
OL Shaq Mason (knee) QUESTIONABLE
OL Ryan Wendell (knee) DOUBTFUL

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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Read More: Jabaal Sheard, Julian Edelman, Marcus Cannon, New England Patriots

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