In the New England Patriots week one game against the Tennessee Titans starting right guard Dan Connolly suffered a head injury in the fourth quarter. One of the week’s NFL rumors is that Connolly will not be available for the Patriots in week two’s match-up against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Patriots have suffered great loss on the offensive line. Matt Light retired just after last season, Brian Waters has yet to report and looks like he won’t this season, and Dan Koppen was a part of the final round of cuts. In addition, Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer spent the majority of training camp on the sidelines, and Nate Solder hasn’t progressed as far as many had hoped. Connolly’s injury is just one more addition to a long list of trouble the Patriots offensive line has dealt with.
On Friday Connolly was listed as questionable on the Patriots injury report and is said to be getting better but that’s not surprising. Head coach Bill Belichick is famous for misleading how serious injuries are in the team’s injury report. A better indication of where Connolly actually stands is that he practiced the last two days but was limited in his participation.
If Connolly is out Sunday, his replacement at right guard will be Donald Thomas who replaced him against the Tennessee Titans. Thomas’s backup will probably be Marcus Cannon who moved over from right tackle during last week’s game.
Other than Mankins and Vollmer who were significant parts of the 2011 New England Patriots, Connolly is the only other lineman on the roster with much experience. Most of the Patriots offensive line are young players or players who have spent most of their career on practice squads. Even with Connolly’s vast experience compared to other linemen on the team, he’s spent the majority of his career as a backup.
Connolly’s absence would make the task of protecting Tom Brady against the Cardinals pass rush even harder. The Cardinals have a strong defensive line anchored by defensive ends Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell. Those two gave the Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson a rude welcoming in week one and with more injury to the Patriots offensive line, they could spend a lot of time with Brady on Sunday.