Solder to see college foe in Denver's Miller

570866.jpg

Solder to see college foe in Denver's Miller

It's been one test after another this season for rookie offensive tackle Nate Solder. Last week, he helped the Patriots stop Redskins pass-rushers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. The week before that it was Indy's Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. And when Sebastian Vollmer went down with a foot injury against the Eagles, Solder subbed in at right tackle to keep Philly's defensive line away from Tom Brady.

Vollmer's on-again, off-again availability over the course of this season has forced Solder to be a frequent contributor on the offensive line in his rookie year. He's impressed his coaches by how well he's responded.

"You can't say enough about what Nate's done as a rookie," Pats offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien said Tuesday. "Being coached by Dante Scarnecchia is a big deal, too. Being under his guidance right away helped. He came in and was able to be a productive guy right away as a rookie. We put a lot on his plate. We ask him to know different parts of the game-plan, obviously, and he's done a good job and fits in to that whole group of veterans."

When Solder isn't in at tackle, he has chipped in on the Pats' offense as a blocking tight end or as a fullback.

His athleticism and versatility will be put to the test again against the Broncos. If Vollmer continues to miss time, Solder will have to hold his own against against Denver linebackers Von Miller and Elivs Dumervil.

Miller, the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, already has 11.5 sacks.

"Both those guys, Miller and Dumervil, those guys are explosive guys that have different rush techniques," O'Brien said. "Both have great food speed. They're a fast defense overall . . . Getting used to the speed of the game as it relates to those two guys and the rest of the defense will be a challenge, especially on the road with the crowd noise and all those things."

Solder may be one of the least experienced players on the Pats offensive line, but he may adjust to Miller's speed quicker than anyone else simply because he's seen it before. As a junior on Colorado University's offensive line in 2009, Solder played against Miller while Miller played for Texas A&M.

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said the Patriots watched the tape of Solder blocking Miller before this year's draft. It was Solder's second season playing as a tackle after arriving at the Boulder campus as a tight end. And though Miller finished the game with five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble, the Patriots liked Solder enough to make him the 17th overall pick last spring.

Judging by how much Solder has played this season, the Patriots aren't regretting the decision.

Watch Tom Brady's daughter Vivian tear it up on ski slopes

Watch Tom Brady's daughter Vivian tear it up on ski slopes

Tom Brady's daughter Vivian is a natural on skis.

The New England Patriots quarterback and apparently proud father posted a comical video of his 4-year-old daughter tearing it up on the ski hill. Vivian took on the bottom section of the run while adhering to the all-important instructions from the Super Cool Ski Instructor from the Comedy Central show, "South Park."

Brady added the audio from the "South Park" ski instructor to the video of his daughter skiing, and included a joke about "french frying" and "pizzaing" at the correct moments. 

"That’s my girl! Pizzaing when she's supposed to pizza, French frying when she's supposed to French fry... NOT having a bad time!!" Brady joked on Instagram.

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

The Patriots obviously got it right when they pushed away from the table during the Darrelle Revis bidding war in 2015. 

The once-great corner spent the 2016 season languishing on the field. He’s spending the early part of the offseason reacting negatively to backpack journalism after midnight. 

MORE PATRIOTS

But the alleged double KO by Revis and his buddies isn’t what prompts this submission. 

It’s the revelation from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that the tampering the Jets engaged in when they were prying Revis loose from the Patriots was way, way more involved than what the NFL fined them for. And that Jets owner Woody Johnson knew all about it. 

Mehta leads his piece revealing that, long before free agency opened in 2015, Revis “was ready to squeeze more money out of [Johnson] who he knew would be willing to overpay for his services again.”

Mehta reports that, “back-channel discussions with the Jets in February set the foundation for a Revis reunion . . . 

“Team officials in stealth mode communicated with Revis, Inc., through private cell phones and face-to-face covert meetings at the 2015 Scouting Combine rather than make calls from the team's landlines at their Florham Park facility. No paper trails were a must.

“Johnson, the driving force behind bringing back Revis to right a wrong in his mind, endorsed all of it.”

The Patriots -- who were in the midst of the Deflategate colonoscopy that resulted in absurd-level discipline -- lodged a complaint with the league over the Jets tampering after Revis signed with the Jets in mid-March of 2015. 

The Jets were fined $100,000 but weren’t docked any draft picks.. The tender wrist slap came, ostensibly, because Johnson moronically stated at a December press conference that he’d “love” to have Revis return to New York. 

Maybe Johnson wasn’t being a dummy. That comment provided cover for the league office -- which has a documented history of treating the two NYC franchises with kid gloves -- to let the Jets off easy. 

Mehta’s article is the latest offering from him since completing his heel turn against Revis. 

Mehta did everything but fly the plane to bring Revis to New York once the 2014 season ended. And this is what he wrote the day the Jets penalty came down: 

The NFL’s attempt to uncover any dirt was an exercise in futility, a witch hunt driven by nonsense from a hypocritical organization with no reason to feel threatened by its competitor. 

You may wonder what’s the point? 

Clearly, the Patriots got it right while the Jets cheated, got what they wanted, and are now getting what they deserved. 

And everyone already knows the league office’s investigations and operations arms under the brutally incompetent leadership of Troy Vincent are a laughingstock. 

All true. But if I don’t write this now, I may have no recollection of this particular instance of league corruption given the absolute avalanche of other incidents