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Bryan Stork Not Practicing, Dan Connolly Steps Up

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The Patriots fourth round center was injured yesterday, and a familiar face has stepped into his place.

Jim Rogash

When center Bryan Stork was injured yesterday and had to head into the locker room (he left on his own power, so hopefully any injury is minor), it marked an important moment in camp. The Patriots had been giving the rookie all the chances in the world to beat out incumbent center Ryan Wendell for the starting role, so any time lost will change the offensive landscape.

So when Stork was not on the field this morning, it would make sense for Wendell to take the starting spot and try to put himself back on the top of the depth chart. Instead, we saw Dan Connolly take Stork's vacancy at center.

If the team believes that Connolly should be the top replacement for Stork, that means that Wendell's even more of a longshot that previously believed- and that Connolly and his super-sub ability is more valuable than his hefty cap hit.

The offensive line has a rotating group of characters that are all fighting for starting time at center and right guard. The other three positions are locked by Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, and Sebastian Vollmer. The team has been playing Marcus Cannon at starting right guard, which is great progress as I personally believe he's a starting quality lineman. Additionally, Josh Kline has entered the ring as a possible challenger for the top back-up at guard- and is a lost cost alternative to any of the veterans.

The team is going through all players to ensure the best offensive line is on the field and ahead of Tom Brady. Hopefully Stork can return soon to add another body to the competition and to push the other players to be the best they can be.