The Patriots didn’t release and injury report yesterday but that didn’t stop Bill Belichick from letting us know where a couple of key players are at. The Patriots held practice yesterday in full pads, but TE Rob Gronkowski did not participate. That fact shouldn’t be a shock to anybody who has been following his injury, which is allegedly a high ankle sprain. It’s very possible that Gronk doesn’t practice at all this week but still suits up to play in the Super Bowl. But with the bad comes some good, as right tackle Sebastian Vollmer did participate in practice.
Bill Belichick shed some light on Vollmer’s status and why he has not played in several weeks.
“Sebastian has gotten a lot better over the last few weeks. He came out of his cast, I’d say, before the Denver game. And then he practiced last week before the Baltimore game, and I would say he was close, but obviously, he wasn’t ready to go, and we didn’t activate him. This week, he is further along than where he was before the Denver game. He practiced today, so we will see how the week goes and see how he holds up. But I think there is definitely a possibility. We will just have to see how he tolerates the added work. If he does well, then I will think you will see him. If not, then it will be where it was in Baltimore. I don’t know if we will know about that until we put him through the full week of practice. He is definitely making progress, so he is getting there.”
Having Vollmer in the rotation at tackle provides depth and allows the Patriots to do different things on the offensive line. The Pats could rotate Vollmer and rookie Nate Solder in and out to keep them fresh and can use Solder as a third tight end in heavy formations or when they feel they need an extra blocker. That extra blocking tight end could also help save Gronkowski, who will likely be limited in what he can do if he does play. Sebastian Vollmer’s availability is a storyline that is likely to be closely monitored throughout the week.