With Nate Solder out for year, Bill Belichick figuring out 'best options'

Mike Petraglia
October 16, 2015 - 6:20 am
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[caption id="attachment_94933" align="alignright" width="150"]Sebastian VollmerSebastian Vollmer[/caption] FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick has always stressed flexibility along his offensive line. Now, with the news this week that starting left tackle Nate Solder is out for the season with a torn right biceps, Belichick and the Patriots must figure out what's next, starting this Sunday night in Indianapolis. "That's too bad. That's a tough break for Nate," Belichick said in his Friday press conference. "He works really hard in the offseason. He's one of our offseason award guys. I think his work ethic and training is as good as it can be. It's just unfortunate. It wasn't really that big of a hit or anything. It was just one of those things." Solder injured his right arm when attempting to block Cowboys tackle Tyrone Crawford with under a minute to go in the first half. As Crawford executed an "up and under" move, Solder's right arm got pinned back and he shook it as he came off the field. WEEI.com's Chris Price broke down the options, including moving Sebastian Vollmer over to left tackle from right tackle and putting Marcus Cannon on the right side. "He blocked Freeney his rookie year. Sebastian has played left, he's played left and right well. Marcus has been playing left and right this year, played them both well," Belichick said. "Again, that's part of the flexibility we try to build in throughout the course of the year, training camp and OTAs and practice squad and scout team reps and things like that where guys work in different positions because when you only take seven linemen into a game, everyone has to double up somewhere. It's just all part of it. I think we're fortunate that we have guys here that can do, that have flexibility and we'll just try to see what we feel like our best options are for Sunday." Belichick noted that what the Patriots throw out there Sunday night could change from game to game, depending on the matchups. "Sure, it could. his rookie year [2011], [Solder] played tight end and right tackle. It just would depend," Belichick said. "Some players have more position flexibility than others. If they have it, then there may an opportunity to use it. If they don't, you try to plug them in that spot and let them go and let them play good. Steve Neal played one spot but he played it well. That wasn't a guy we were going to move around. Steve was playing right guard and that's pretty much all he ever played for us but he played it well. We had other players that had more position flexibility and we moved some of them. "Dan Koppen. Dan played center, that's it. Never played anything but center. There's nothing wrong with that but if you have guys with position flexibility, that's good, too. At some point, you're going to need that from somebody. Not everybody has it. Guys that can play one position well, we can use that." Also of note Friday was that Belichick feels confident at this stage that the answers to replacing Solder lie within the Gillette Stadium walls and that the team won't necessarily have to go out and look for replacements. "Depth's really important on your football team," Belichick said. "To have depth at every position really, you never know when you're going to need it but you know you're going to need it. We'll see how it goes. We've got guys in this building that we feel like will be able to take care of the situation. We'll figure out what we feel are our best options before game time and be ready to go." DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.