Health key for Patriots OT Vollmer in contract year

Kevin Fishbain
Pro Football Weekly
Report: Patriots OT Vollmer has knee scope

The Patriots’ O-line quieted preseason doubts with a strong performance in Week One, and the unit got a boost by having ORT Sebastian Vollmer back in the starting lineup. One daily team observer called Vollmer the most important player on the line, as his backup, Marcus Cannon, struggled in the preseason. In Week One, Vollmer split snaps, playing in 51 percent of the team’s offensive plays, as he returns to full health from a back injury — an injury that can be especially dicey for offensive linemen.

The fourth-year player played in only six games last season with five starts after a impressive 2010 season in which he started every game. Vollmer was originally thought to be next in line at left tackle after Matt Light retired before the team drafted Nate Solder in the first round in 2011.

Injuries — he had back surgery to repair a herniated disk in 2006 that cost him the entire ’06 college season — kept him off most team’s draft boards, but the Patriots took Vollmer in the second round of the ’09 draft. Injuries continue to haunt Vollmer, and now money is involved, as he is in a contract year. We hear that Vollmer is considered to be a very good tackle, but his health could keep teams away in free agency. Injuries are likely going to keep the Patriots from extending his deal during the season, at least until he returns to 100 percent.

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