New England Patriots: 5 players to watch vs Detroit Lions

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 16: Mike Gillislee (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 16: Mike Gillislee (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 04: Cameron Fleming
FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 04: Cameron Fleming /

OTs Cameron Fleming & LaAdrian Waddle

The Patriots will likely only carry four offensive tackles on their 53-man roster. Those players include starters Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon, rookie Tony Garcia, and backup Cameron Fleming or LaAdrian Waddle.

While the first three players listed are virtual locks to make the team, the fate of the latter two will be decided throughout the rest of the summer.

New England Patriots
New England Patriots /

New England Patriots

Luckily for Fleming and Waddle, both Garcia and Cannon were among Doug Kyed’s list of players whose shoulder pads didn’t make the trip to Detroit. Starting left tackle Nate Solder returned to practice on Tuesday, however, the team may opt to play it safe and keep him out of Friday’s game.

The possible absence of Solder, Cannon, and Garcia versus Detroit will open up opportunities for the two competing tackles.

Fleming got the starting nod at right tackle in New England’s preseason opener and started at left tackle versus Houston, last Saturday. According to Doug Kyed, Fleming allowed two hurries versus the Jaguars and three against Houston.

Waddle was named starting left tackle versus Jacksonville but struggled in pass protection, allowing three hurries, a quarterback hit, and one sack, per Kyed. Waddle was held out of Preseason Week 2 after suffering a concussion in joint practices, however, he returned to practice on Tuesday.

In’s latest 53-man roster projection, Adam Bogdan has Waddle earning the spot over Fleming, although, he notes:

"“Either Fleming or Waddle could claim this spot and neither would surprise me. Just depends on who shows up the rest of the summer.”"

If Waddle is active over Cannon and Garcia, expect him and Fleming to start versus Detroit. How the two players fare from now until cut down day will determine who remains on the roster.