Here is a look at how the Patriots' first-year players performed in the team's Week 16 win over the Dolphins.
OT Nate Solder (first round, 17th overall) — Solder started at right tackle for Sebastian Vollmer but then moved to the blind side after Logan Mankins, who was replacing Matt Light, left with a knee injury. Left tackle is likely Solder's future position. He had only two snaps as a tight end because of the shortage of personnel on the O-line.
RB Stevan Ridley (3, 72) — It looks like Ridley has emerged as a go-to back, even ahead of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He led the team in rushing for the second week in a row with 13 carries for 64 yards (4.9 average). He led all backs in playing time with 28 snaps, according to ESPN Boston.
OT Marcus Cannon (5, 138) — Cannon was thrust into the lineup at right tackle because of injuries to Vollmer, Light and Mankins. The O-line improved in the second half. The team didn't give Cannon the initial start, showing how it feels about his readiness. Keep in mind that he has played in only a few NFL games.
Notes — RB Shane Vereen (2, 56) and QB Ryan Mallett (3, 73) were both inactive. ... LS Danny Aiken (undrafted) recorded a special-teams tackle. ... The team re-signed DB Sterling Moore (undrafted). He was active but did not play in the win. ... DE Alex Silvestro (undrafted) was promoted from the practice squad during the week and he was in on 11 defensive snaps.