Vollmer back at practice, still 'day-to-day'


Vollmer back at practice, still 'day-to-day'

By Phil Perry

FOXBORO -- The way Nate Solder played on Monday night may afford the Patriots to be a little more cautious with Sebastian Vollmer's back injury. But Vollmer, who sat out of the Patriots win in Miami, has been practicing this week and hopes he's well enough to play Sunday against the Chargers.

"Good to get back out there," Vollmer said. "We'll have to see about me playing Sunday. So far, I'm out at practice and doing what I can. Trying to get better. When it feels right, it feels right."

Vollmer underwent back surgery while at the University of Houston but would not say that his current injury goes back to his college days.

"Im only looking forward," said Vollmer. "Its day-to-day, well see what happens."

While Vollmer was non-committal when he discussed his status for Sunday, his coach said he expected Vollmer to play -- as well as the team's two other tackles Matt Light and Solder.

"I'd expect all three of those guys to play," Belichick said Friday. "Light, Solder, Vollmer. I'd think they'd all play."

Solder was solid at right tackle going up against one of the best pass-rushers in the league in Miami's Cameron Wake. The rookie from Colorado was called for one hold and allowed Wake one sack, but Solder showed good footwork and often finished plays by smothering Wake into the turf when Wake tried to get low and rush around him.

Vollmer said he wasn't surprised by the rookie's debut.

"You expect certain things," he said. "He stepped up to the plate and had a good game."

He went on to explain that the Patriots emphasize versatility on the line so that when injuries happen, they're able to compensate. It's why Solder -- brought in as a left tackle -- was able to fill in at right tackle. It's also why Dan Connolly made such a quick transition from guard to center when Dan Koppen left Monday night's game with a broken ankle.

"That's what we do in practice and in training camp," Vollmer said. "You learn each position and try to prepare as well as you can for it. Step in and do good."

Follow Phil Perry on Twitter at @PhilAPerry.

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi discusses the odds that the New England Patriots franchise tag Dont'a Hightower and what he expects the Pats to get if they were to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones


Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.