The New England Patriots‘ offensive line is not playing at the level expected of it, but some help could come from rookie center Bryan Stork.

Head coach Bill Belichick said Stork has improved a lot after missing a significant portion of training camp, a setback that greatly affects the progression of a rookie’s transition from college to the NFL.

“I think Bryan has definitely gotten better, he has improved,” Belichick said during Tuesday’s conference call. “He has had an opportunity to string together a few weeks of practice here. And get a little playing time the last couple weeks. I definitely think he is moving in the right direction.”

Stork, a fourth-round draft pick out of Florida State, may not be ready yet to assume a role as the starting center, but that concept is not out of the question. Stork projected as a potential starter at center when camp opened.

“Well, his playing time and workload is functional of his performance. So, it’s the same it is for any player,” Belichick said. “The better a player plays, the opportunities they get. If they don’t do as well, those opportunities go to somebody else. If that somebody else performs well with their opportunities, then they are going to get more. That’s really the way it is for all players at all positions.”

With the Patriots having issues at the guard positions in the post-Logan Mankins era, Stork at center allows New England to slide Dan Connolly to right guard in place of Jordan Devey, who was benched for this combination on the offensive line late in Sunday’s win over Oakland.

When asked if the O-line’s issues have anything to do with the coaching change — from the retired Dante Scarnecchia to Dave DeGuglielmo — Belichick said the situation is something the …read more