They say that the worst thing that an offensive lineman can do is be noticed. Well this is what happened to New England Patriots center Ryan Wendell this past season. He was noticed a lot for his subpar play.
Wendell’s woes largely came through his pass protection. He was constantly terrorized by opposing defensive tackles, whether it would be a nose tackle or under tackle. Pressure surrendered by an under tackle is bad enough, let alone surrendering pressure to a nose tackle whose job it is to stuff the run.
And most of us know that pressure up the middle can be the worst kind of pressure. Where was Tom Brady supposed to go if somebody beat Wendell off of the snap? Often times Brady would simply have to eat it and take the sack.
The 2013 season was not all bad for Wendell. His run blocking was still pretty good as evidenced by the success of multiple Patriots running backs. In fact, run blocking has always been Wendell’s calling card even when he was playing better.
Speaking of playing better, Wendell played much better in 2012. He was a well-rounded center who was above-average in pass protection and excellent in run blocking. Josh McDaniels liked Wendell so much that he allowed the center to play over 1,200 offensive snaps.
Considering all of this, Wendell must be brought back on a contract with just next season guaranteed. That way, Nick Caserio can see if he has a franchise center or if Wendell was just a one-year wonder in 2012.
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.