FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When New England Patriots starting left tackle Matt Light was sidelined with a knee injury in 2009, the team turned to right tackle Sebastian Vollmer to fill the void over a five-game span.
Six years later, could history be repeating itself?
Photo: OTs Marcus Cannon (left) and Sebastian Vollmer in the spotlight today after Nate Solder lands on IR. pic.twitter.com/AyQrjmqw5G— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 15, 2015
The Patriots placed starting left tackle Nate Solder on season-ending injured reserve with a torn biceps Wednesday, and the 6-foot-8, 320-pound Vollmer is ready to step in if needed.
"Those are calls not made by us. That's Bill [Belichick], and whatever he wants to do, that's what we'll do. We'll see what happens," Vollmer said before Thursday's practice, declining to get into specifics of which side he's been playing in practice.
Given that Belichick is usually prepared for all scenarios, it would be surprising this week if Vollmer doesn't practice at left tackle. While some players struggle flipping sides (Belichick has previously noted that Light did when they tried him on the right side early in his career), Vollmer doesn't seem overwhelmed.
"I played it in college [too]," Vollmer said, referring to his time at the University of Houston when he started 25 games at tackle. "I think it depends on the player; it's easier or harder on some. I've done it before."
Meanwhile, if Belichick decides that Vollmer is too valuable to move from right tackle, the other option is to insert five-year veteran Marcus Cannon at Solder's left tackle spot.
"He's been out there, it's not like his first rodeo. He's been with this team for a long time," Vollmer said of Cannon.
The 6-foot-5, 335-pound Cannon has been part of a rotation this season, usually entering games on the third and fourth series -- first at left tackle for Solder, then at right tackle for Vollmer. He's also been part of the power package when an extra offensive lineman comes on to the field.
In all, he's played 143 snaps, a 49.8 percent clip.
Cannon, who former offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia once called a starting-caliber talent, said he doesn't have a preference on which side he plays while also expressing empathy for Solder.
"It's always unfortunate when [an injury] happens to a teammate. I hope he gets well," said Cannon, who had signed a two-year contract extension last year worth a maximum value of $9 million. "When something like that happens to someone you're close to, it's hard. Nate is a great teammate and we all care for him. Now we have to do what we have to do."