The Patriots are glad to have one starting offensive tackle returning from injury, but they need to make sure their other options at the position are up to par as they face Philadelphia's pass rush in their second preseason game.
Sebastian Vollmer, the presumptive starter at right tackle, is now reportedly off the physically unable to perform list as the back injury that has kept him out of games since last season is now healed. However, he won't be eligible to play Monday against the Eagles, and the two players who did see time at the tackle spots last week -- Nate Solder on the left, and Marcus Cannon, Vollmer's likely backup, on the right -- left something to be desired, the Boston Globe writes.
Tackles Nate Solder (left) and Marcus Cannon (right) had rough outings against the Saints, and they need to show improvement after a week of tough practices. Cannon, who gave up six quarterback pressures against the Saints, has the most to prove. With Sebastian Vollmer set to return, the Patriots need to determine if Cannon is capable of being the swing tackle on game day. There's still some question about whether Cannon can even play tackle. He has all the physical tools to do so. Solder is fine. He just needs to keep working on his technique.
A solid, consistent starting offensive line was one of the trademarks of the Pats squads that formed a dynasty during the last decade. Tom Brady is still obviously a great quarterback, but he's not the nimblest in the league any more. He needs to be able to be comfortable in the pocket in order to be the elite passer New England needs.
For more on the Patriots, there's Pats Pulpit, as well as SB Nation Boston.