The Patriots’ O-line has a different look, but certainly came together for a strong outing in Week Four. We hear that one of the most improved players on the whole team has been C Ryan Wendell, and his ability to step right in at center has helped stabilize a unit that is missing last year’s Pro Bowl right guard, Brian Waters. Wendell, who is undersized at 6-2, 300 pounds, was one of four players to start a game at center last year for New England and has been the Pats’ top reserve interior lineman for the past two seasons. A lot of talk in the summer focused on the center position and the battle between Dan Connolly and Dan Koppen. The Patriots parted ways with Koppen, Connolly shifted to guard in place of Waters and Wendell took over the center position seamlessly.
“Ryan works hard, he’s a smart guy and he definitely is very attentive to details and coaching when you ask him to do something, he really tries to do it the way you ask him to,” Bill Belichick said on a conference call Tuesday. “He’s had a good, solid stretch here of playing good football.”
Wendell has allowed two sacks, but he does not have a penalty through four games. According to Pro Football Focus, Wendell is ranked sixth among centers overall and his run-blocking grade is second, a big reason for the Patriots’ recent success rushing the football, even without Logan Mankins in Week Four. As long as Waters sits at home, Wendell will be snapping to Tom Brady going forward.
- Brian Waters
- Dan Koppen