Patriots vs. Dolphins: Nate Solder Could Make His First Start Monday

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 11: Nate Solder #77 of the New England Patriots battles defends against the Jacksonville Jaguars during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

When the Patriots' re-signed longtime left tackle Matt Light in early August, the thought was that having him around would ease the transition into the line-up for rookie first round pick Nate Solder.  Solder would get the chance to be groomed for a year, possibly two, then he would take the reigns from Light as the left tackle of the future.  While many thought Solder could see a fair share of reps as a rookie, few actually believed that Solder could be a starter day one.

That notion may have to be reversed.  Patriots starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer missed practice yet again on Wednesday, having missed practice all of this week, as well as having sat out the Patriots' preseason finale against the New York Giants.  We won't have any indication of how serious Vollmer's injury is until the Patriots release their injury report tomorrow.  But even then, we probably will not be able to formulate much of an idea.

That being said, it isn't far-fetched to think that there's at least a chance that Vollmer will miss Monday night's game against the Dolphins.  If that were to be the case, it would almost certainly be rookie Nate Solder stepping into the starting line-up on the right side.  Solder rotated into the right tackle spot at times late in the preseason for the Patriots, but it will certainly be a challenge for him if he has to be thrown into the spotlight on national television, trying to block one of the best pass rushers in all of football in Cameron Wake.

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