Sebastian Vollmer, Jordan Devey, Dan Connolly, Marcus Cannon, Nate Solder, Tom Brady

New England Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer (76) guard Jordan Devey (65) center Dan Connolly (63) guard Marcus Cannon (61) and tackle Nate Solder (77) protect quarterback Tom Brady (12) during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday Sept. 21, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stew Milne) (Stew Milne)

FOXBOROUGH – The Patriots traded away veteran offensive lineman Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one ago month today.

In his absence, the line was expected to crumble. His lack of leadership and experience would create huge voids on a young line.

Entering their fourth game of the season on Monday night, the Patriots have largely weathered the first quarter of the season without Mankins.

Week 1 was admittedly messy. Tom Brady fumbled twice, both for losses, and was sacked four times as the Patriots took a lopsided loss in Miami.

But the last two games have shown slight progress. Brady has been sacked three times in the last two games and has not fumbled since the opener.

The penalties have been the Patriots’ vice overall, with 30 through three weeks. The offensive line had three of the six Patriots penalties last week.

“We’re working hard to fix everything,” left tackle Nate Solder said. “At this point it’s just a building process. Things hopefully improve but you never know until game day so we work hard every day to make it that way.”

Solder has been on the line for all 230 snaps this season so he would know.

Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer has the only other constant on the line through three games. (He missed one snap in Week 1 so he’s been on the line for 229 counts.)

Both guards spots and center have been been a mix of rookies …read more