The New England Patriots recently got hit with a few big injuries…
That’s a lot to digest, but let’s not panic just yet, Patriots fans. First off, it sounds like both Lewis and Mason will be back this season, and hopefully at 100% and ready to rock when they do. Lewis’ second surgery doesn’t have anything to do with his ACL injury, and this will give him a chance to ensure he is good to go in November, or whenever he does come back.
Until then, James White will be the third down back, and as he proved last year, he is capable of doing that. He isn’t Lewis (no one is), but he has good speed and quickness, and he can catch the ball. Tyler Gaffney or Donald Brown will benefit from this news, as one of them will likely land a roster spot.
As for Vollmer, that obviously sucks. There is a chance he comes back off the IR later in the season, but I wouldn’t count on it. Vollmer hasn’t been the best tackle in the league by any means, but he is a HUGE upgrade over Marcus Cannon, and he is probably one of the 10 best tackles in the NFL. However, his contract is about to be up, and since he has proven to be injury-prone, there is a very good chance he won’t be back next year.
With Vollmer out for the year, and Mason out for the foreseeable future, the Pats’ offensive line will look something like this opening day: Nate Solder-Joe Thuney-David Andrews-Josh Kline-Marcus Cannon.
Not great, but it could be worse. Now that Solder is healthy, hopefully he will return to his old form, and be one of the more dominant tackles in the league. Thuney has been the star of the preseason thus far for New England, and I am confident he will more than hold his own at left guard. Andrews has the current inside track to the starting center spot, as Stork has been dealing with concussions, and his season might be in jeopardy as well. Kline struggled last week, but until Jonathan Cooper recovers from injury, he is the best available option.
And that finally brings us to the starter at right tackle, our old friend Marcus Cannon. The man who almost single-handidly got Tom Brady killed in the AFC Championship game, will now be the starter once again for what looks like the entire season.
I know this sounds bad, but I’m going to try to be optimistic about Cannon for now. He was fighting through injuries last year, and with Dante Scarnecchia back, maybe Scar can just work a miracle with him. It will really help if Jimmy Garoppolo can get that quick strike action going within the offense, as that will limit the time Cannon has to actually play well. We know Tom Brady can do it, the question is, can Jimmy?