GNOTD: Tackle Nate Solder Back at Practice

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

I'll take it!

Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder made it back to practice today, which a huge step forward for the offense. Wide receiver Josh Boyce was the only player not at practice as he nurses his ankle injury.

In my non-expert opinion, holding Solder this week makes the most sense. Solder re-irritated his concussion via a Cameron Wake knee to the dome, so the Patriots need to ensure that he not only passes the concussion tests, but that he's also not a risk for re-re-irritating the same concussion.

By Week 17, Solder should be all better and ready to either clinch the playoff spot (finally!) or get in his groove before the bye week (hopefully!). In the mean time, Logan Mankins and (gulp!) rookie Josh Kline should hold down the left side of the line.

Missing out on Boyce certainly ain't the best of news as he was clearly coming into his own as a viable weapon in the Patriots offense, but that loss is eased by the fact that Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson continue to practice. If both Thompkins and Dobson are active, Boyce would likely fall back to a more "role" position, especially as Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola keep developing into high impact players.

The Patriots are likely going to play the Ravens with Edelman, Amendola, Dobson, and Thompkins as the top receiving targets, and with Shane Vereen coming out of the backfield. While that may not seem like much due to the loss of Rob Gronkowski, the aforementioned players would actually grant the Patriots their second most put-together offense of the year (behind only week 11 against Carolina).

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