New England Patriots: Dont’a Hightower, Nate Solder return to practice
By Nick Ziegler
The New England Patriots have received some good news, as Dont’a Hightower and Nate Solder have both returned to practice.
After winning their fifth Super Bowl, the New England Patriots had a somewhat short offseason because of the long playoff run. While the front office wasted no time having a good offseason, some of the players were still feeling the effects of the long 2016 season.
This offseason, the Patriots placed linebacker Dont’a Hightower on the physically unable to perform list. In addition to Hightower, Nate Solder has also not been practicing. As two key players for the team, this was a cause for concern.
However, with the third preseason game against the Detroit Lions just a few days away, both players were seen at practice with full pads on.
This is certainly good news for the Patriots, as both are incredibly important at their respective positions.
For the Patriots’ defense, Hightower is one of the unit’s best players. With injuries up front, the Patriots will certainly need Hightower’s ability to rush the passer. Even though he hasn’t been asked to do it often in the past, Hightower is a fairly skilled pass-rusher.
On the offensive side of the ball, Solder is obviously an important player as the starting left tackle. As the protector of Tom Brady’s blindside, Solder’s health is extremely important to the Patriots. If Brady is under pressure, the Patriots’ offense is simply not the same.
The Patriots will be playing the Detroit Lions on Friday in their third preseason game. This could very well be the final audition for the starters, as Belichick will likely hold most key players out for the fourth preseason game against the Giants.
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Since Hightower and Solder haven’t played a preseason game yet, the Patriots would likely want them to see some game action before the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. Having both players at practice is certainly good news, as the season opener is just 16 days away.