OFFENSIVE TACKLES: Solder, Vollmer form top duo

OFFENSIVE TACKLES: Solder, Vollmer form top duo
July 11, 2013, 11:45 am
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Mary Paoletti will be previewing each Patriots position up until the start of camp in her daily "Roster Reset". Yesterday, she previewed the centers. Today, she takes a look at offensive tackles. Check in tomorrow to see her preview on the guards.

Returning:
Nate Solder - 3rd season
Sebastian Vollmer - 5th season
Markus Zusevics - T/G - 2nd season

Incoming:
Will Svitek - 8th season
Kevin Haslam - 4th season
Elvis Fisher - Rookie
R.J. Mattes - Rookie

News of note: You've probably heard that continuity is key to an offensive line's success. The Patriots have that, and it's part of why their pair of starting tackles -- Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder -- is one of the best in the league.

Solder had an impressive 2012 in his first season taking over full-time after Matt Light's retirement. At 6-8, 320-pounds, he's big, but moves very well. Vollmer will hopefully be moving more freely after offseason surgery on the right knee. His past injuries (knee and back) only kept him out of one game last year and weren't enough to keep New England from re-signing him for four years and $17 million.

A 6-foot-6 offensive tackle, Mattes was a four-year starter at NC State and should add some depth along the offensive line, considering the release of veteran guard Tyronne Green and recoveries of guard Dan Connolly and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer from offseason surgery.

But what about backup? Donald Thomas shipped out to Indianapolis, so the majority of Marcus Cannon's snaps will probably come at guard. Veteran Will Svitek, 6-6, 310, has valuable experience to step in as a swing tackle.

Kevin Haslam, who was signed by the Jaguars as an undrafted rookie in 2010, has struggled to get his career on track because of injuries and ineffectiveness. Though he can play both tackle and guard, it would not be surprising to see him lose out on a reserve role to someone like Markus Zusevics. New England had Zusevics stashed on the non-football injury list to start last season and the former undrafted rookie will now have a shot to prove he was worth keeping around.