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2012 Patriots Pandemonium Positional Preview ~ Offensive Line

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Off The Grid, Sep 8, 2012.

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  1. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    RG Dan "The Flash" Connolly

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    For a UFA, Dan Connolly has really developed into a strong, continuously improving presence on our O Line. Connolly strikes me as the kind of guy who ~ very much like Rob Ninkovich ~ quietly improves each year...until the day comes when it suddenly occurs to everyone that the guy ~ who most of us simply dismissed as an afterthought when he first worked his way onto the top 53 ~ has almost secretly become a vital part of our team.

    When all is said and done, I believe that Dan Connolly will be looked upon as one of the most improved and essential Patriots of 2012...and for very good reason.

    OC Ryan Wendell

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    I've never been a big fan of Ryan Wendell....But he's growing on me!!

    Simply put: the kid's grown into'is Frame.

    He always did boast impressive Athleticism.

    And now, by the Gods, that bastard can Anchor.

    Center is ~ arguably ~ the 3rd most critical position on the Field.

    When I heard that The Marquis de Pouncey ~ one of my very first Super Binkies in the 2010 Draft ~ was Out, I instantly bellowed that the Steelers ~ previously and still "favorites" ~ had become Underdogs in Super Bowl 45.

    And that is why the surprising Accession of Ryan Wendell ~ Props, Brother Bill The Mad (Genius)!! ~ is awesome.

    We have two Starting Caliber Centers, if not three, and that is utterly invaluable to The Championship Quest.

    LG Logan's "Run" Mankins

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    It's been several years since that blessed day in 2005 that I heard the magnificent news that the Patriots had drafted Logan Mankins, and I am still enraptured with this ferocious, mauling, Beast.

    Nobody needs me to tell them that Logan Mankins is one'f the most powerfull, savage O Guards in the Game.

    I just wish we'd Run more often, for it is when he's attacking the Defenders ~ especially smaller, faster guys like the Giants have so many of ~ that Mankins' Fury really makes a demolishing, bone-crushing and triumphant Impact.

    And this might be the year that we do just that.

    OG Donald Thomas

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    Donald Thomas is intriguing.

    6 years ago, our potential Opening Day Right Guard was a Tight End.

    This was just 18 months before he got drafted ~ this former standout Defensive Tackle, standout 1st Baseman, Pitcher, and of course: standout Center ~ Basketball Center ~ as an O Guard!!

    Did I mention that he was also a member of the National Honor Society??

    And he's already played Full Back in Mad Bill's offense in his short time, here, this versatile, 53rd man kind of guy.

    I can't help but sense a whiff of "Rob Ninkovich" about this kid.

    And that, Ladies and Laddies, is high praise, indeed.

    Given his Body of Work as an Offensive Guard, I'm inclined to question'is Core Strength, his Fluidity, and his Launch Velocity.

    Yet Thomas, who exhibited a remarkable level of Versatility that can easily be said to've been a great boon to'is College team but a detriment to his interests ~ because it discouraged Coaches from dedicating him to one position where he could focus on mastering his Craft ~ just might be a bit more ~ perhaps a great deal more ~ than meets the eye.

    As Fans, we are forced, due to a limited amount of Information ~ which of course is necessary, for obvious reasons ~ to make our deductions based, always, on incomplete Data...yes??

    Given that...I can't help but wonder if Donald Thomas eventually turns out to be Dan Connollly II.

    OG Nick McDonald

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    Props to Brother Nabwong of PatsFans.com, for ferretting out this astonishing Back Story!!

    ESPN ~ Nick McDonald Makes a Mother ~ BOTH Mothers!! ~ Proud!!

    Brother MayoClinic, of PatsFans.com fame, has been, far and away, the leading BellRinger for Nick McDonald, Scrapper Extraordinaire. He found this intriguing Article, before we yoinked McDonald away from'm, quoting Packers Coach Mike McCarthy about McDonald, who he clearly held in high regard:

    Journal Sentinel ~ Coach McCarthy High On Rookie Offensive Lineman McDonald

    McDonald's very first Game as a Pro was last December, when he was suddenly thrown into the fray as a starting Center, the day after he was activated!! Considering the Center's responsibilities and our complex Offense, one might assume that a spectacular disaster would ensue...But he played a remarkably strong game.

    Processing Speed.

    For a raw kid who came from a small school, had never played Center at all until just 16 months previously, and who was making his Professional debut in a complex Offense...his success that day was astonishing.

    And it told me all I need to know about his Capacity to Rapidly React and React at the Pro Level, which is the most vital attribute a player can command at any position, and even more critical for a Center.

    And McDonald ~ who grades out solidly if moderately in Strength, Power, and Agility ~ has convinced me that he commands enough of it to go a long, long way in this League. I'd be surprised if he didn't develop into a starter, with another year or so in Dante's School of Dancing Bears...and probably a good one.
  2. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    LT Nate "Universal" Solder!!

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    I was thrilled when we selected Nate "Universal" Solder, last Spring, and I still am, despite a very shaky Camp.

    Much has been said about Solder's difficulties this August, and I agree that the concerns are warranted: I don't care for O Tackles as tall as he is, because it places them at a competitive disadvantage against their foes...for the simple reason that it's easier for shorter guys to establish a lower Center of Gravity when they crouch, often enabling them to get up under their taller opponents and leverage them out'f the way.

    This is something that taller guys can overcome if they command outstanding Core Strength, Core Power, and Fluidity ~ indeed, their superior length can be a tremendous advantage if they are a superior Athlete, as I consider him to be ~ but Solder has been looking pretty stiff, pretty weak, and pretty upright this Camp, hasn't he??

    And yet last year he looked exactly as I expected: coiled, limber, and explosive.

    Has he regressed, then?

    Did he take his improvement last year for granted, and fail to properly condition himself, this year?

    I rather doubt it, Gents.

    As awful as he has occasionally looked, the last few weeks, I am inclined to suspect that the upright, awkward stances we've seen'f'm are a reflection not of regressing Core Strength, Core Power, Fluidity, and Lateral Agility ~ though of course an undisclosed injury is always possible, in which case all bets're off ~ but of Indecision.

    He is, after all, somewhat new to the position.

    And the good news is: He's a smart kid with an excellent Work Ethic who commands extraordinary Athleticism.

    And his Line Coach, of course, is Dante Scarnecchia.

    Every Sophomore has to contend with the rest of the league having Book on this tendencies, leave us not forget.

    But my thinking is that he's eventually going to be not only fine...but extraordinary.

    RT Sebastian "The Cruel" Vollmer

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    Sebastian "The Cruel" has been a big favorite of mine since that glorious day when we drafted'm!!

    Yes, his back is a big concern.

    And I've already reiterated my concerns about drafting taller Linemen.

    But Sebastian "The Cruel" is an outstanding athletic specimen, and the extraordinary fusion of Core Strength, Core Power, Fluidity, and Lateral Agility that he commands renders his length a strength.

    Am I deeply concerned about his back issues and his future?? Absolutely.

    But my money is on the man to not only overcome this issue with his back ~ despite the near-hysteria currently surrounding it ~ but to develop into one of the very best Right Tackles in the entire Game.

    Here's hoping I'm right.

    OL Marcus Cannon

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    I'm afraid that I'm just not very high on Marcus Cannon.

    Cannon commands exceptional Core Strength and remarkable Fluidity, two Attributes that I consider extremely important, but his Lateral Agility sucks. At either Tackle spot or even at Guard, that weakness could very well prove fatal in today's accelerating Game. And I wake up with night sweats ~ and not in a good way ~ when I imagine him trying to contain his man against the NasCar Giants, deep into this coming Winter.

    It's only a notion ~ not conclusive ~ but his lack of Launch Velocity ~ aside from the obvious problems it entails ~ also leaves me deeply concerned about his Processing Speed. I'm not assailing the guy's Intelligence, believe me: I'm no dummy, and I'm quite sure I'd be even slower than him.

    But if my gut feeling is correct, and he's actually compounding bad Lateral Agility with poor Processing Speed, while he's trying to pick up Stunts and such...I'm afraid the combination could prove fatal, not only to'is chances of success in this League...but also to our chances of winning the Super Bowl, should he be placed in The Line of Fire.

    Positional Prospectus​


    1 ~ Center is the #3 most crucial element to a team's Champioinship Quest...and while we don't have the screaming All Pro there that I'd prefer, we do have a solid and improving kid under contract, in Dan Connolly, and outstanding Depth of Talent, in Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald, and Don Thomas...and even Tom Austin on the Taxi Squad!!

    2 ~ O Guard is the #4 most crucial element to the Championship Quest...and here we're looking inexcusably weak. Logan Mankins is All Pro Caliber at Left Guard, but now Don Thomas or Nick McDonald might be pressed into service. They're terrific Reserves, but do we want them facing down the NasCar this coming Winter??

    3 ~ Meanwhile, Jason Pinkston went #150 in the 2011 Draft, and Senio Kelemete went #151 in 2012. That's two 5th Rounders. I campaigned vigorously for Pinkson, and passionately for Kelemete, who has phenomenal potential at a vital, vital position. We could've had tremendous Depth of Talent cheaply. Now, all we can do is pray.

    4 ~ Nate Solder's performance and Sebastian Vollmer's health are both shaky, but if Solder settles down as I fully expect'm to, and if Vollmer's back holds up as I pray it does, we should be outstanding on the edges. If not...

    The Future​


    1 ~ I pray to God that Bill The Mad (Genius) learns from his ~ and every other GM's ~ mistakes and finally seeks out the cheap yet essential O Guard Depth of Talent, in the 2013 Draft, that he has egregiously ignored, so far. Impact Talent like potential All Pro Senio Kelemete and like Jason Pinkston are the kind of guys I'd love to see us pursue.

    2 ~ And I'm pretty desperate to see'm spend some late Picks on raw but talented O Tackles, as well, and see what Coach Dante can do with'm. Willie Smith and David Mims were two immensely talented guys I was crazy about in the 2011 Draft, and Nate Potter and Matt McCants were two talented, intriguing guys from the thinner 2012 class.
  3. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson Rookie

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    Entertaining work as always Brother OTG. I think the Offensive Line was one of our biggest strengths last year, and this year it looks like our most glaring weakness. Seeing Solder and Cannon struggle in the preseason is troubling. Vollmer is a huge question mark, Mankins is coming off of injury and seeing Wendell as the first string C makes me nervous. With Dante Scarnechia, I've never worried about our O-line floundering, even if we are rolling out our 2nd stringers. I hope this year is no exception.
  4. eternal

    eternal Rookie

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    OTG, you should knock on the front door of the offices at Gillette and ask to be a scout. Obviously the scouts and coaches are not reading your posts here.
  5. Sparetire

    Sparetire Rookie

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    Why not seabass for vollmer?
  6. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Rookie

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    Waters Situation Takes A Turn For The Worse :pats Pub

  7. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    No Jersey Selected

    Great breakdown as usual, OTG. Just as you are down on Cannon (for good reason), so too
    am I down on Wendell. I fear that DTs are going to eat him up & spit him (& Brady) out.
    And Bill penny-pinching an All-Pro caliber Brian Waters, after throwing away precious draft picks
    & salary-cap space to the garbage pile of Fat Albert, OchoStinko & Fanene, is beyond retarded.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
  8. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good work, my friend. Good work indeed.

    I pretty much agree with everything you've said. My one caveat is that everything we're saying is based upon preseason performance, which isn't always an indication of regular season performance. See, for example, the 2008 entries under "Cassel, Matt". But I digress.

    I'm cautiously optimistic that things will work themselves out in a positive manner over the next few games.
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