Sebastian Vollmer’s 2013 season didn’t end well after he suffered a leg injury that saw him end up on injured reserve. (USA TODAY Images)
(This is the seventh in a series of individual player spotlights over the next few weeks leading up to training camp. We’ll have several each day, so check back frequently as we go down the roster. This edition focuses on Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer:)
Sebastian Vollmer’s season ended abruptly in 2013, with the right tackle suffering a gruesome leg injury during the team’s week eight match-up at home against the Dolphins.
It was a moment that was hard to forget. On the play Vollmer was engaged with Miami defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, who Vollmer had blocked out of the play, opening up a hole behind him for Stevan Ridley to cut through. However, Dan Connolly, who was lined up next to Vollmer, wasn’t able to keep McDaniel’s teammate, Randy Starks, from cutting inside and taking Ridley down as he made his move behind Vollmer.
Starks grabbed Ridley from behind and as he twisted to pull down the Patriots running back, he landed right on the legs of Vollmer. The normally tough right tackle let out a scream that was audible on the television broadcast and was heard by the fans who were on hand to witness it unfold right in front of them. Over and over he yelled, slamming his fists into the turf as his right leg was visually bent awkwardly.
Moments later with his leg placed in an air cast he was driven off the field, which marked the final time fans saw him in 2013.
Best game of 2013:
It’s hard to quantify it, but for Vollmer, his best performance of 2013 was arguably against the New Orleans Saints in week 6 after a terrific overall showing that afternoon. He faced a tough Saints defense that afternoon, but of the five sacks allowed that day he was only responsible for one and actually did a good job of giving Tom Brady enough time to help engineer their last-second victory. He also opened up holes during what ended up being one of Stevan Ridley’s best games of the season running the football. Of Ridley’s 20 carries, eight of them came to Vollmer’s side of the line (2 over right tackle, 6 around the right end) for 39 yards.
He played a lot of snaps in that game, with the 87 plays matching the second most the team played during the regular season, which came against the Broncos. But they did enough to win the game, and Vollmer certainly played an important part.
Notable Stat of 2013:
Overall through each of the first seven games running backs had the second highest yards-per-carry average running over right tackle compared to the other positions, gaining 111 yards on 19 carries (5.8 avg). They also carried 22 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns around the right end, with Ridley and Brandon Bolden each accounting for one. He also wasn’t called for a single penalty during the eight games he did take part in.
What to Watch For in 2014:
Vollmer is such an important part of the team’s offense both in terms of his pass blocking and his toughness in opening holes in the running game. His health will certainly be something to watch during training camp, and despite the fact that Cannon has been serviceable during his time filling in while Vollmer was injured, it’s hard not to appreciate the type of player Vollmer is. Tackle is certainly not the sexiest position by any means and it’s one of those positions that doesn’t fetch a lot of glory. But he’s a player whose name isn’t called very often for the wrong reasons, and he’ll likely be an important part of this offense once again this season.