Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse recovered a fumble, returned it for a few yards, was tabletopped and helicoptered, and ultimately fumbled and lost the ball. This play is the inspiration for this week’s theme: what offensive lineman would be the best skill player on your team?
And there are only two real possibilities and one real answer for the New England Patriots.
Right guard Shaq Mason is possibly the most athletic lineman on the team and he moonlighted as a fullback during his rookie season when James Develin was on the injured reserve with a broken leg. He deserves some credit.
But the only real answer is left tackle Nate Solder, for this play alone:
How many other linemen in the NFL could score a 16-yard touchdown reception in the playoffs? He outran a linebacker to the goal line and jumped over the safety trying to take out his legs. That’s a supremely athletic play by most tight ends, never mind an offensive tackle.
If the Patriots actually wanted to move Solder away from his blind side position, there’s a very real chance he could be the second-best tight end on the roster right now. I’m a Dwayne Allen believer, but Solder has more career receptions from Tom Brady and evidently a better rapport, and Solder is undeniably a superior blocking option.
Food for thought, Bill Belichick. Food for thought.