Patriots 2013 position preview: Offensive line

Ryan Wendell, left, and Marcus Cannon, center, will once again be in charge of keeping No. 12 with as few grass stains as possible. Credit: Getty Images
Ryan Wendell, left, and Marcus Cannon, center, will once again be in charge of keeping No. 12 with as few grass stains as possible. Credit: Getty Images

An NFL team could spend top dollar to bring in a franchise QB, Pro Bowl receivers, or stud running backs, but if there’s no time to get them the ball when it’s snapped, then it’s all pretty pointless.

That’s where the offensive line comes in. The least glorified position of them all, the o-line’s main job is to protect the team’s most prized possession, in the Patriots’ case – Tom Brady.

Brady has gone on record to say that he could see himself playing into his 40s. If that is to happen, he’ll need some of the best protection out there. Luckily for him, he’s got that. Brady may have to worry about the receivers he’s throwing to, but it’s unlikely that he’s got any doubts about the line protecting him.

Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, and Sebastian Vollmer – all starters last season on the line – look to go into the season as starters once again. Third-year right guard/tackle Marcus Cannon may make the biggest leap though, as it appears that he could take over the right guard position from Dan Connolly, who can play multiple interior positions on the line as a backup.

Cannon is listed at 6-foot-5, 358 pounds, and with him out there you can expect to see the Patriots turn to the running game even more than last season, when they ran it 523 times (second highest in the NFL) and scored a league-leading 25 touchdowns from the ground.


The line has also done its job in keeping Brady off his butt when he does drop back to pass. Brady was sacked just 27 times last season, tied for fifth fewest in the NFL, and he was knocked down 67 times – tied for 11th fewest.

We’ve seen Brady panic at times when the pocket closes on him, so the importance of the o-line can’t be overstated. He sees the whole offense coming along as the team gets deeper into camp.

“I think a lot of guys are trying to create roles for themselves, so there’s a lot of opportunity and every time you get the chance to take a rep you’re trying to do better than you did the previous time,” Brady said. “There are a lot of moving parts right now, so the tempo is important, the personnel is important, getting the formations right, running the right play or using the right technique – all those things are little things that become big things.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

'Five Star': A coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang…

'Five Star' tells a coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang culture at the Tribeca Film Festival.

National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

NYPD detective shoots partner: DA

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.

Local

Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

'A Brony Tale' documents men who are into…

Ashleigh Ball, a voice actress on "My Little Pony," speaks to us.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

NBA

Nets excited for Brooklyn fans to bring the…

Kevin Garnett has definitely used profanity while trash talking or in practices, but never to describe an entire borough.

NHL

Rangers turn up shot blocking in Game 3…

Game 3 of the Rangers-Flyers opneing round series was not a return to John Tortorella hockey.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.