Patriots reportedly set to shake up offensive line

September 29, 2014 - 10:42 am
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[caption id="attachment_79154" align="alignright" width="150"]Bryan Stork Bryan Stork[/caption] The Patriots are expected to shake up the offensive line on Monday night, moving rookie Bryan Stork to the role of starting center, while installing another rookie -- Cameron Fleming -- at right guard and slotting the versatile Dan Connolly at the other guard position. Meanwhile, Marcus Cannon and Jordan Devey, who have seen the bulk of the work at guard for the first three games, will apparently sit, at least for now. In addition, Ryan Wendell will move to a backup role. The moves come in the wake of some struggles up front over the course of the first three games of the season, a stretch where the team has had issues when it comes to pass protection. Stork, who stepped in at center in the late stages of last week'€™s win over the Raiders, arrives at the NFL level with a peerless resume, having played some guard before moving to the pivot, where he eventually won the Rimington Award last year as college football'€™s best center. A captain and three-year starter at Florida State, he was a part of last season'€™s national championship team. "€œHe'€™€™s really a football guy; loves football, works really hard at football," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Stork on Saturday. "He wants to be a football player and he'€™€™s dedicated himself to it; all those qualities that you love in any player but especially an offensive linemen. He'€™€™s got strength; he'€™€™s got a good frame for a center. He'€™€™s got good length and height. He played in a good program, he'€™€™s well coached, pretty good fundamental player. I thought he was as good as any center that we saw this year, the last couple years." Fleming played right tackle over the course of his career at Stanford -- he said he got some work at right guard in college "as a joke" -- but took some reps at right guard this week in practice. In his relatively brief NFL career, he has shown himself to be a steady and dependable blocker, mostly working as an extra tight end/tackle eligible in running situations. As for Wendell, he could be in the mix now to serve as a backup at either guard or center going forward. "He'€™€™s played both for us,"€ Belichick said of Wendell, who has fundamentally been the starting center in New England since 2012. '€œRyan'€™€™s a really smart player. He'€™€™s one of the smartest players that we have, that we'€™€™ve had. He really understands everything that we'€™€™re doing, including all the communication with the quarterback and so forth." The news was first reported by Shalise Manza-Young of the Boston Globe.