O-line shuffling has hurt Patriots' run game

Posted Dec. 08, 2011 @ 11:59 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

As good as MVP Tom Brady was in 2010, the Patriots had a balanced offense with the ninth-best rushing attack in the league. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead combined for more than 1,500 rushing yards.

This season, the run game has not been as consistent. There have been four games in which New England has failed to rush for more than 100 yards and the team has fallen to 21st in the league in rushing yards. The pair of backs has combined for 844 rushing yards.

The Patriots are still second in the league in total offense thanks to a potent passing attack and have been able to run the ball well when it has been needed to chew up the clock, but playoff opponents could take advantage of a run game that has not been imposing.

The way we hear it, injuries to ORT Sebastian Vollmer have been part of the problem. The Patriots like to run out of the three-TE set with rookie OT Nate Solder as a blocking tight end, but it's difficult to make that shift with Vollmer out, as inexperienced rookie Marcus Cannon has to take over at right tackle. The Pats are also on their fourth starting center of the season, Nick McDonald, making it difficult to get cohesion in the unit.

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