If Brian Waters returns to the New England Patriots, then things for center Dan Koppen could be bleak. The 32-year-old veteran’s play has been slipping with age, and he will most definitely not be the starting center for the Pats if Waters returns to the team. He is no longer an effective center, and Dan Connolly is clearly the better option right now. Koppen has been demoted as a second-string center, as the position has been a revolving door between rising fourth-year OL Ryan Wendell and the solid Connolly.
So even if Waters doesn’t return, then there is the chance that Koppen could be cut. There is a lot of speculation out there from writers that he is losing ground as his play keeps declining and Wendell’s play keeps rising. Connolly is clearly the better player, and Wendell has been practicing as the first-string center for the team. It’s kind of weird saying this, but yeah, Koppen’s spot on the roster is far from a guarantee.
That’s especially true if Waters returns from whatever he’s up to, because then Connolly’s going to be shifting over as the starting center. That leaves Wendell in a role somewhat similar to what Connolly’s used to be, as he will be the fill-in backup at both center and guard. That would leave Dan Koppen as the clear odd man out on the interior, especially since the Patriots have been playing Wendell over him in practice.
We all might just be getting ahead of ourselves here, because Koppen will still probably make the roster if Waters never comes back. But if he does, there’s a better chance that the Patriots cut ties with Koppen. He’s one of my favorite players so it’s not a good thought to think, but he’s clearly not an effective center anymore. Not only that, but Wendell has risen due to a great offseason and Connolly is one of the better offensive linemen in the NFL.