Bill Belichick was excited to see Patriots get surplus of depth at important position – Boston Herald
It’s still unclear who will be the starting right tackle in Week 1 when the Patriots take the Gillette Stadium game field to play the Eagles, but at least Bill Belichick now has options.
In a span of just over 48 hours, the Patriots acquired offensive tackles Vederian Lowe and Tyrone Wheatley Jr. via trade and activated Calvin Anderson from a summer-long stint on the non-football illness list. That came after veteran offensive tackle Conor McDermott struggled and then suffered an injury and offseason addition Riley Reiff moved to guard and then began to miss time with his own ailment. The Patriots’ only realistic, healthy option to play opposite starting left tackle Trent Brown was rookie Sidy Sow, who had his own growing pains this summer after converting from guard in college.
Belichick has liked what he’s seen from Anderson in his return off NFI. But he seems even more excited by the team’s improved depth at tackle.
“It’s good to have Calvin back out there,” Belichick said Monday on a video conference call. “Similar to what we saw from him in the spring and at Denver. Position flexibility to play both tackles as a young player but still has enough playing experience that he can — he’s a young player, but he’s experienced enough where he can handle a lot of things and pick things up quicker than a rookie would or something like that, even though he’s been on another team. He’s been able to, I would say transition pretty well from an assignment standpoint, technique standpoint. We’ll see how it goes here.
“Kind of working through some multiple moves there at tackle with Calvin and the two players that we acquired with Lowe and Wheatley, so we’ll see how things come together. But we gained three tackles there in one day it seemed like. That was good to get that.”
Anderson has yet to disclose what ailment initially put him on the non-football illness list.
The 27-year-old swing tackle said he wants to get in more practice time before getting into his personal situation but would say he was initially “very worried” about his football future.
“Those are all medical things,” Belichick said. “He was treated. It seemed like everything went pretty — from what I understand — not that I know very much about this — but from what I understand sounded like everything went on a pretty straightforward path. Once his condition was identified and he started doing the things they needed to do, it just took a little while. But seemed like it’s gone on a pretty good, pretty consistent pace on the recovery. About what was expected.”
The Patriots now have six days to figure out who will be starting at right tackle Sunday with no perfect option. And it’s possible that multiple players could see time in that role in the Patriots’ season opener.
It’s still unclear if left guard Cole Strange and right guard Mike Onwenu will be ready for action after missing most of the summer with injuries. Onwenu has played right tackle in the past, but it would be a lot to ask of him to play his second-best position with limited ramp-up time before Week 1. If Onwenu did play tackle, the Patriots could put rookie Atonio Mafi at right guard. Lowe and Wheatley have limited time in the system after coming over from the Vikings and Browns, respectively. Anderson might not be in full football shape after being activated from NFI on Aug. 29.
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