Season over for Patriots center Koppen
FOXBOROUGH - The 2011 season has come to an early end for Patriots center Dan Koppen, who was placed on injured reserve yesterday because of a fractured left fibula.
Koppen had to be carted off the field during the season opener against the Dolphins after his leg was twisted in a pileup during a quarterback sneak by Tom Brady in the second quarter of New England’s 38-24 victory.
The Patriots also placed defensive lineman Myron Pryor on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury. The Patriots now have six players on IR.
Koppen is in his ninth season and the last year of a contract that is paying him $2.9 million this season. Prior to his injury, he had started 120 of his 121 games with the team after being drafted in the fifth round in 2003 out of BC.
Koppen hadn’t missed a start since 2007, when an ankle injury kept him out of a game against the Browns. Russ Hochstein started that game, but Koppen returned the following week.
The last time Koppen missed a stretch of games was in 2005, when a shoulder injury landed him on IR after nine games.
Dan Connolly has taken over for Koppen. Connolly had been rotating at right guard with Brian Waters in the opener, then moved to center after Koppen was injured.
Connolly started at center against the Chargers Sunday and is expected to stay there.
“I thought the whole offensive line played a very good, tough game against a very good San Diego front,’’ offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien said on Tuesday. “Dan was definitely a part of that. Dante [Scarnecchia, the offensive line coach] does a great job of mixing guys in, making sure that they all play multiple positions and get reps at each position. It actually really starts with Bill [Belichick]. We bring a lot of multiple-position guys into the organization and that’s who we have right now. We have five guys, six guys, seven guys who all work really well together, and that’s showing up on the field. Hopefully, that continues.’’
Pryor was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round in 2009 out of Kentucky but has struggled to stay healthy. He played in 13 games as a rookie, but was limited to nine games last year.
With two roster spots available, defensive lineman Landon Cohen and defensive back Phillip Adams were signed. Cohen, who is 6 feet 3 inches, 300 pounds, and in his third season, was cut Sept. 3 as part of the final roster reduction.
Monique Walker can be reached at email@example.com.