FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer has been ruled out for the New England Patriots' season opener against the Miami Dolphins, which will likely move rookie Nate Solder -- the team's first-round draft choice -- into the lineup Monday night.
Vollmer, a second-team All-Pro selection in 2010, has been out the last two weeks with a back injury. Solder, the 17th pick in the draft out of Colorado, has been the top backup.
"I'm absolutely ready to go," Solder said Friday when asked about the possibility of starting.
With Vollmer and backup center/guard Ryan Wendell (calf) out, the Patriots have just six offensive linemen for the season opener, one short of what they'd normally carry. This could lead to a roster move, perhaps with a promotion off the practice squad, where the Patriots have three offensive linemen -- tackles Matt Kopa and Thomas Welch, and interior lineman Nick McDonald. Kopa was with the Dolphins in training camp.
In addition to Vollmer and Wendell, the Patriots also downgraded reserve defensive end Jermaine Cunningham (groin), reserve receiver Taylor Price (hamstring) and reserve linebacker Jeff Tarpinian (knee).
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.