Brady on swapping Connolly for Koppen

Brady on swapping Connolly for Koppen
September 14, 2011, 5:30 pm
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By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @mary_paoletti
FOXBORO -- New England's Week 1 battle with the Dolphins was not won without a few casualties.

Starting center Dan Koppen suffered a broken left ankle Monday night. Koppen has an MRI scheduled for Wednesday to better form a plan on dealing with the damage, but a return is not imminent.

Sunday's game versus the San Diego Chargers will be just his second absence in the last five years and quarterback Tom Brady isn't happy about it. When Koppen -- on crutches, in a walking boot -- relayed the post-game diagnosis to him outside Sun Life Stadium's visitor's locker room, Brady reaction was . . . unprintable.

The pressure is on right guard Dan Connolly to plug the hole at center (and put his quarterback's mind at ease) as he did in Miami. Brady spoke about Connolly on Wednesday.

"Dan's been here for quite a while. He understands the system and he understands the calls. When you play right guard and you've got to move to center, you know the center's calls. He's been a back up center for a long time and he's expected to go out there and perform very well as he's done at right guard.

"All those guys have some terrific flexibility," Brady continued. "Coach always says, 'The more you can do around here . . . If you can only do one thing you'd better do it well.' Obviously those guys have to be able to play multiple positions."

Ryan Wendell is listed as backup center on the team's depth chart, but a calf injury has limited his participation. Still, even as a third option, Connolly is a decent one. He played well as a stand-in on Monday, not only with snapping to Brady, but helping rookie tackle Nate Solder on the line.

"Every center-quarterback relationship is special and Dan and I have I've had that for a long time," Brady said. "I've known Dan Connolly for a while -- he's been in there at center quite a bit in mini-camps, training camps and we're always preparing for guys playing multiple positions. He's done a good job of that. He did a damn good job the other night stepping in and he's going to need to be able to do that for the forseeable future."

In the end, Brady stressed that the team has to adjust and move on. No matter how big an impression the injury bomb made when initially dropped, there's no time to dwell. Especially with such a short turnaround to Week 2.

"I can't focus on what the center's doing," Brady said. "I trust those guys to do their job. I've got plenty of things to focus on. Plenty of things I need to do a better job of."

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti