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Thoughts on the loss of Sebastian Vollmer

Posted by Erik Frenz  October 30, 2013 10:35 AM

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With yet another season-ending injury to a key player, the New England Patriots' starting roster may soon look reminiscent to the third quarter of a preseason game.

The latest injury, a broken right leg for right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, is the first blow dealt to the offensive line.

Some quick thoughts on the injury, and what it means to the Patriots and Vollmer:

  • When healthy, Vollmer has been one of the best tackles in the NFL. According to stats website Pro Football Focus, Vollmer was the 11th-best tackle in pass protection, yielding 12 hurries, one hit and two sacks of quarterback Tom Brady on the season. His 6-8, 316-pound frame made him tough to beat in the running game.
  • Vollmer was brought back this offseason on a four-year deal worth $16.75 million, according to sports contracts website Spotrac. It was a largely incentive-laden deal. This year alone, he will miss out on $2 million total -- $1 million in bonus money for not playing 80 percent of the snaps, $750,000 in bonus money for not playing 90 percent of the snaps, and $250,000 for not making the Pro Bowl. Vollmer has dealt with several back injuries throughout his career, which probably contributed to his getting such a bonus-heavy deal in the first place.
  • Next man up is third-year tackle Marcus Cannon. He was in on 50 of 68 snaps against the Dolphins after Vollmer went down. Cannon has filled several roles this year, including playing 72 of 88 snaps at right guard against the Saints when starter Dan Connolly was sidelined with a concussion. He allowed pressure on Brady just once against the Dolphins in 23 snaps as a pass-blocker.
  • "I think he’s gotten better each year," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick of Cannon, "he’s got good skills for his size. He’s an athletic guy who has good feet, can move people in the running game and has the quickness to block them in protection; good playing strength. He had an opportunity to play last week and stepped in, did a good job for us there in the second half against Miami. I’m sure he’ll have a good attitude, good week of preparation this week against Pittsburgh and be ready to meet that challenge too. He’s been a solid guy for us and it looks like he’ll get an opportunity to play here in the near future.
  • Cannon's next assignment will be a big one, as the Patriots host the Steelers and star pass-rusher Lamarr Woodley, who is currently the second-best pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebacker in the league (16 hurries, five hits, five sacks).

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Erik Frenz delivers analysis of the biggest news with the Patriots, including insight into the AFC East and New England's biggest rivals from a Patriots perspective. Erik is an interactive writer who engages his audience in his posts’ comments sections and on Twitter. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. More »


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