1. Patriots Unknown Interior Offensive Line vs Miami’s Interior Defensive Line:
Aug 15, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots guard Dan Connolly (63) readies the snap against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first half during the preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 42-35. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
With question marks as to who will be playing where on the offensive line at guard and center after the surprising trade of Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins Josh Kline played most of the second-half against Miami in week fifteen subbing in as Mankins moved to left tackle when Nate Solder left with a concussion. Veteran center/guards Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell had a Jeckyl-and-Hyde performance as both had strong performances against defensive tackles Randy Starks, Paul Soliai, and Jared Odrick in the Patriots’ victory in week eight, but in week fifteen the Dolphins’ defenders turned the table on the duo and disrupted quarterback Tom Brady pressuring him 14 times after getting just 7 pressures in the first game (per ProFootballFocus.com).
The biggest issue is that until the starting lineup is announced, no one knows who is going to start on the interior of the offensive line for the Patriots. Would it be that big of a surprise if rookie center Bryan Stork gets the start? How about if Dan Connolly is at center? Or right guard? Ryan Wendell at center? How about Josh Kline at left guard? Or Jordan Devey at left or right guard? Sebastian Vollmer moving inside to guard? How about Marcus Cannon moving inside to guard? The options are wide open. Whoever is playing has to slow down the Dolphins’ inside pass rush or else Tom Brady will have a long day in Miami.