New England Patriots right tackle Cameron Fleming played 38 snaps for the Patriots over the first 11 games of the season as the fourth-stringer. He was behind starters Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon and then lost his job as the top back-up to LaAdrian Waddle.
But Cannon and Waddle were both not available for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills because of their ankle injuries, which opened up the door for Fleming to have his first big contribution of 2017. And over 68 snaps against the Bills, Fleming did just that.
“I thought Cam played hard,” head coach Bill Belichick said. “He was aggressive, had a lot of good plays. As in every game, we all have plays that we’d like to have over again or could do a little bit differently. Cam’s been a solid player for us for four years, and he’s always been ready to step in whenever we’ve called on him at both tackle spots and sometimes at guard and jumbo tight end and things like that. I thought he gave us a solid performance yesterday.”
The Patriots racked up huge yardage in the run game, particularly to the right side behind Fleming and right guard Shaq Mason. Patriots rushers combined for 99 yards on 12 carries (8.25 yards per carry) to the right side, with Fleming paving the way.
Fleming also did an outstanding job in pass protection. According to Pro Football Focus, Fleming “did not allow a single pressure on 34 pass blocking snaps as he was the only Patriots offensive lineman to not give up a pressure in the entire game.”
The Patriots hope that Cannon and Waddle will be able to return in the coming weeks because depth on the line is incredibly shallow right now. But if New England needs Fleming to have another start at right tackle, they can feel more comfortable about him holding the line against Cameron Wake and the Miami Dolphins.