One key player who the New England Patriots have been without for quite some time is offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer. This year, Vollmer has played in just six games (five starts) while nursing separate back and foot injuries.
Meeting with reporters this afternoon in Indianapolis, a light-hearted Bill Belichick was asked what the chances were that Vollmer could suit up and potentially start Sunday in Super Bowl XLVI for the Patriots.
Belichick was surprisingly open in his answer, saying that it was a "possibility" and continued, saying that "Sebastian has gotten a lot better here over the last few weeks. He came out of his cast or whatever is was before the Denver game. He practiced last week before the Baltimore game and I'd say it was close, but obviously wasn't ready to go and we didn't activate him."
Belichick expanded further, stating that "this week, he's further along than what he was before the Denver game. He practiced today so we'll see how the week goes and see how he holds up, but I think there is definitely a possibility. We'll just have to see how he tolerates the added work and if he does well, I think you'll see him. If not, then it will be where it was in Baltimore. I don't really know if we'll know that until we put him through the full week of practice but he's definitely making progress. So he's getting there."
The fact that Vollmer practiced, after being listed as questionable for the AFC Championship against the Ravens, is a positive sign. If Vollmer is capable of suiting up for the Patriots against the Giants, it would certainly provide a boost for the Patriots' offensive line against the vaunted New York pass rush. Vollmer could see success, in particular, against the powerful Justin Tuck, who typically lines up at left end for the Giants. Rookie Nate Solder will certainly see time, but a rotation could keep both fresh while also allowing Solder to contribute as a third tight end.