Welcome to PatsFans.com

Connolly - The Perfect Patriot OL

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Jun 2, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    19,975
    Likes Received:
    24
    Ratings:
    +28 / 1 / -0

    With everyone healthy, he may or not start (although he could start at center, with the idea of moving 2 players if there is a game day injury, with Koppen as game-day backup inside).

    However, even if he doesn't start, Connolly would get lots of reps subbing at all the interior line spots. For dante and bill, our 4th inside lineman (who is a decent starter at all three positions) is indeed worth starting money.
  2. pork3

    pork3 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    You forgot, he's also a great return man.

    -Jamman
  3. Ron Sellers

    Ron Sellers Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,899
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    I think the question is more likely to be 'where will Connolly start' than 'will Connolly start'.
  4. Calciumee

    Calciumee PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Messages:
    4,598
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Surely he has the best return average on the team?
  5. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    11,112
    Likes Received:
    25
    Ratings:
    +33 / 0 / -0

    Until I see Mankins on the field, I'll have Connolly penciled in as the Patriots' week 1 starting LG.

    As for his value being something the Patriots would uniquely recognize, I'm not sure BB's legendary love of versatility is really the issue here. It's not as if he cannily moves guys like Connolly from position to position based on schemes and matchups, like guys on the defensive front 7. What team WOULDN'T value a guy who can start respectably at all three interior OL 3 positions?

    Surely that's why they gave Connolly a $10 million contract: because he had multiple suitors.
  6. Frezo

    Frezo Rookie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,431
    Likes Received:
    5
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0

    #50 Jersey

    Connolly = Ashworth x 2
  7. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,733
    Likes Received:
    7
    Ratings:
    +7 / 0 / -0

    I will be disappointed if Kopen starts over Connolly at center when
    Mankins and Waters are back.
  8. TheComeback

    TheComeback Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0

    According to Reiss, center is Connolly's job to lose. He had a great season last year.
  9. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    19,975
    Likes Received:
    24
    Ratings:
    +28 / 1 / -0

    Let us look at the team when Mankins is healthy.

    Solder, Mankins, ???, Waters, Vollmer/Cannon

    I would start Koppen, even if Connolly is a bit better. IObviously if Koppen doesn't look good at all, he would be benched, perhaps for Wendell or MacDonald.

    Koppen will likely already started several games, with Connolly starting for Mankins. If Connolly starts at center, the Game Day backup for the interior linemen is Koppen.

    If Mankins or Waters is injured, Connolly starting at center this requires TWO changes. Connolly moves to guard, Koppen to center. If Gallery is the Game Day backup, there is no backup center.

    Belichick prefers to make only one change if there is one injury. This is discussing in-game changes. If a player is out the next week, there are more options.
  10. patriotscpfc

    patriotscpfc Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,034
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Connolly will be starting on this team, full-of-health, or not.
  11. Ron Sellers

    Ron Sellers Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,899
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    You would prefer to not put your best lineup on the field?


    The logic makes sense - but only if all else is equal. Why purposefully make yourself weaker based strictly on 'what if somebody gets hurt' logic?

    I think you may be over-thinking this.
  12. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    11,112
    Likes Received:
    25
    Ratings:
    +33 / 0 / -0

    Right, but I'm pretty sure that's assuming Mankins is at LG. Absent Mankins, the question would be the combo of Connolly & Koppen vs. ?? (Maybe Gallery & Connolly?)
  13. Ron Sellers

    Ron Sellers Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,899
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    If Mankins is out then there are a myriad of possible combinations, though you hit on probably the two most obvious ones.

    • Connolly-Koppen
    • Connolly-Wendell
    • Connolly-McDonald
    • Connolly-Richard
    • Gallery-Connolly
    • Gallery-Koppen
    • Cannon-Connolly
    • Cannon-Koppen
  14. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    12,376
    Likes Received:
    6
    Ratings:
    +7 / 0 / -0

    Even with Matt Light's retirement, the Pats currently have 7-8 "starting" caliber linemen:

    - Logan Mankins - a multiple Pro Bowler who has started all 104 games in which he has played. A certain starter if healthy.
    - Brian Waters - a multiple Pro Bowler who has started 165 of 179 career games, and who played at a Pro Bowl level in 2011.
    - Sebastian Vollmer - an All Pro in 2010, has started 29 of 36 games. A certain starter if healthy. Can play both right and left tackle.
    - Nate Solder - started 13 games as a rookie at both right and left tackle, and played well. Seems set as the successor to Matt Light at LT.
    - Robert Gallery - has started 103 of 104 career games at both guard and tackle (his only non-start coming his rookie season), so it's hard to not argue that he's NFL starting caliber, even though he will likely be a backup for the Pats barring injury. Injuries slowed him in 2011.
    - Dan Koppen - similar to Gallery, has started 120 out of 121 career games at center, with his only non-start coming his rookie season. Assuming he's fully healthy, it's hard not to argue that he's a starting caliber center, whether he starts or not.
    - Dan Connolly - has started 24 games the past 2 seasons at both guard and center, and has played at a starting caliber at both positions.
    - Marcus Cannon - the most questionable name on this list, Cannon played in 7 games as a rookie after coming off PUP. He appears to be playing with the first unit in Sebastian Vollmer's absence, and is a likely starter at RT if Vollmer is not ready. Has reportedly acquitted himself reasonably well so far this year. May also have positional flexibility at guard.

    If Marcus Cannon is indeed ready to make the jump to a starting caliber lineman, that would give the Pats 8 linemen who can play at a reaosnable NFL starting caliber. Most of them have the ability to play more than one OL position. I'm not sure if another team in the NFL can boast that kind of depth.
  15. Frezo

    Frezo Rookie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,431
    Likes Received:
    5
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0

    #50 Jersey

    I would say that Wendell is as close to being a starting caliber center as Canon is to being a starting guard.
  16. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    12,376
    Likes Received:
    6
    Ratings:
    +7 / 0 / -0

    We disagree on Wendell. I consider him a JAG, and I think Nick McDonald will be ahead of him on the depth chart.

    I wouldn't call Cannon a starting caliber GUARD, but I think he'll be the starter at RT and will acquit himself reasonably well if Vollmer can't go.
  17. Frezo

    Frezo Rookie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,431
    Likes Received:
    5
    Ratings:
    +5 / 0 / -0

    #50 Jersey

    He seemed to do a good job when he started for Connolly last year. No?
  18. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    20,241
    Likes Received:
    33
    Ratings:
    +34 / 0 / -1

    Well, like so many Pats OLs, he played LT at TCU, where he did a pretty good job of protecting Andy Dalton's blind side. . . .
  19. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    19,975
    Likes Received:
    24
    Ratings:
    +28 / 1 / -0

    Cannon will be active, and be our backup at LT and RT. Cannon is our #3 OT, and Vollmer has had injuries. For 2012, Cannon is an OT. I suspect that he will remain so.

    Given the players that we have, I believe that Cannon is expected to be able to play LT, unless we are counting on Gallery.

    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
  20. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    19,975
    Likes Received:
    24
    Ratings:
    +28 / 1 / -0

    I have Gallery as #8 at the moment, although until Mankins is back, that matters little.
    I expect to see Gallery inactive if Mankins is healthy.

  21. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    19,975
    Likes Received:
    24
    Ratings:
    +28 / 1 / -0

    Belichick does not ignore the possibility of injury when he fields the team.

  22. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    21,851
    Likes Received:
    13
    Ratings:
    +20 / 0 / -1

    Why would the actives change if Conolly or Koppen started?
    You can just as easily use Koppen as the 4th interior OL by moving Connolly to G as by inserting Connolly at G. The better player will start, its not rocket science to move Connolly to G if a backup is needed, and that backup is Koppen.
  23. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    19,975
    Likes Received:
    24
    Ratings:
    +28 / 1 / -0

    I apologize if I gave the wrong impression. I think that the actives would BE THE SAME whether Koppen or Connolly started. The other would be the Game Day backup interior lineman.
    =============
    One plan would be to start Connolly, and to make TWO changes if a guard is injured (Connolly to guard and Koppen to center).

    If Connolly and Koppen are close to even at center, I would start Koppen, and have ONE change. This is especially true if Koppen has started several games at center while Connolly started at guard instead of an injured Mankins.

  24. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    21,851
    Likes Received:
    13
    Ratings:
    +20 / 0 / -1

    Thats what I mena though. He won't start a lesser play just so if there is an injury he doesnt have to move someone. He has never done that. If Connolly is better he isn't going to sit on the bench because if someone gets hurt no shifting of players is needed. Thats silly.
  25. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    12,376
    Likes Received:
    6
    Ratings:
    +7 / 0 / -0

    It's going to be a very tough numbers crunch for the likely 7 active OL spots, though I expect injuries will make it somewhat easier. Gallery has started 104 out of 105 games, so I kind of doubt the Pats brought him on board to be a game day inactive, but the math is brutal, and he could be the odd man out as you project.
  26. Ron Sellers

    Ron Sellers Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,899
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    I agree that Belichick does not ignore the possibility of injury when he fields a team.

    I disagree with the idea that he would willfully field an inferior starting lineup just so that he could have a better bench in case of injury.
  27. State

    State Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Messages:
    2,507
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Yes. And so is Nick McDonald, who will likely make the team, even though I don't see that in some of the prognostications.

    And don't think Deion Branch won't make the cut, despite the intense competition. I'm not even sure he has lost a step, judging from the SB when he was flying around like he was on high octane fuel. Only Brady didn't look for him enough for the first three quarters.
  28. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    12,376
    Likes Received:
    6
    Ratings:
    +7 / 0 / -0

    McDonald is basically a younger version of Connolly with a higher ceiling. He is only 24, and he is a potential future starting center or guard for the team. Rumors are that the Pats are very high on him, and he was widely praised for his performance in starting 2 games at center last year.

    Reiss has speculated that Koppen's signing was to some degree an insurance move while the team sorted out the status of Waters and Mankins. But if Koppen ends up being a backup center with no positional versatility, Reiss has suggested that his roster spot may not be guaranteed. I'm sure that's controversial, but it will be interesting to see how things play out.
  29. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    12,304
    Likes Received:
    17
    Ratings:
    +23 / 1 / -0

    McDonald is really the guy I am keeping an eye out for. If he continues to impress he could claim the starting C position. A fully healthy lineup of:

    Solder, Mankins, McDonald, Waters, Vollmer might be the most talented OL the Pats have fielded in a long time. If McDonald doesn't step up and claim a spot, Connolly or Koppen at C is still a very strong OL. And as some suggest, Connolly might start out at LG if Mankins needs more time to heal at the beginning of the season. We also have quality insurance at G/T with Gallery and Cannon waiting in the wings.

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  30. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    12,376
    Likes Received:
    6
    Ratings:
    +7 / 0 / -0

    I agree with you, though I suspect we are in the minority. I believe DaBruinz is also very high on McDonald. McDonald had never played center prior to being signed by Green Bay as a UDFA in 2010, and he seems to be a particularly quick study with a great combination of size, athleticism, processing speed and work ethic. I'm not sure he'll be ready to step up to a startin role this year, but I think he could bump Koppen off the roster and that he could be a starter by 2013 (with Connolly or Gallery taking over from Waters at RG). If he exceeds that, I'll be thrilled.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page