New England Patriots Closing in on Solidifying Starting Offensive Line – Bleacher Report
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsThe New England Patriots have found their guy at center in Bryan Stork (66), but there remain questions at two of the other four spots on the offensive line.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — For four weeks at the start of the 2014 season, the New England Patriots offensive line was a group of turnstiles. Porous pass protection led to a beating on quarterback Tom Brady unlike any we’ve seen before.
Part of the problem was a rotation on the offensive line that was counterintuitive to the idea that linemates need to be familiar with the men playing alongside them. Once the Patriots finally settled on a consistent starting five, the offense clicked and hit a stride that wasn’t broken until they were hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champions.
Fast-forward to the first day of training camp, and once again, there is uncertainty on the offensive line. But where the Patriots were clearly undecided at this time last year, they at least seem headed toward the finish line this year.
There was no doubt that Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder would be the starting tackles last year, and that remains the case in 2015. Bryan Stork is going to be the man at center, but there’s still some work to do—at least in the words of offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo.
“If [Stork is] going to be the center right off the bat, and make calls and set the table and be the man, then he’s got a lot of work ahead of him,” DeGuglielmo said on Thursday following the Patriots’ first practice of training camp. “He knows it, and he’s taking a serious approach. I like the fact that he keeps his head down and does his work. If he was out there doing floor shows and being the class clown, I’d have some concerns.”
Stork participated in 13 games as the center in 2014, and he started in 11 of those games. He’s been off to a strong start in training camp and has been one of the sure things in the offensive line through the first week of practice.
Center Bryan Stork looked like a standout in 1-on-1 drills (wins over Antonio Johnson twice & Malcom Brown once) and on goal-line. #Patriots
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 2, 2015
His insertion as the starting center, along with Ryan Wendell at right guard and Dan Connolly at left guard, …Read More