Nate Solder suffered another possible concussion for the New England Patriots in a 24-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Not only did Solder’s “head injury” potentially cost the Patriots the game, it could costs more than just that.
There is not much depth at left tackle for the Patriots. In fact, Solder is the only viable option at the position. That was made clear when Josh McDaniels decided to shift Logan Mankins from left guard to left tackle in order to compensate for Solder’s loss. Josh Kline came into the game to take over the left guard spot, which was yet another huge downgrade.
If this is the plan to replace Solder for an extended amount of time, then Tom Brady is in serious trouble. Mankins is an offensive guard and simply does not possess the quickness to be able to play the left tackle position. In fact, Mankins is not a great pass protector himself. His strength lies in his run blocking. Meanwhile, Kline looked like a complete flop at left guard, especially in pass protection. McDaniels cannot afford to downgrade so heavily at two positions.
Perhaps the best option is for McDaniels to move Marcus Cannon from right tackle to left tackle. Cannon may not be the fleetest of foot, but he played left tackle just a few years ago in college. Besides, Will Svitek is probably the best reserve offensive lineman that McDaniels has left, and Svitek is a right tackle by trade.
Neither of these two options are very appealing, so Solder must get healthy as soon as possible. Given the concern around concussions in the NFL, it is likely that Solder will miss the upcoming game against the Baltimore Ravens. That is not good, considering how talented the Ravens’ pass rushers are.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.