Every Saturday throughout the offseason, one question from Twitter will be selected to further explore a relevant topic around the New England Patriots.
@MikeReiss any chance Stork goes to tackle?
— Pundit Review (@PunditReview) May 26, 2016
Bryan Stork fits best as an interior player, but as we saw last year, he can kick out to tackle in an emergency. His potential role in 2016 has a connection to one of the more interesting storylines of 2015: The unheralded work of undrafted center David Andrews, and then his essential disappearance upon Stork's return from injury.
Andrews played every snap through the first nine games of the season before finally being replaced in the second quarter of a victory over the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 23. By the end of that game, when the Patriots improved to 10-0, he had played 671 out of a possible 715 offensive snaps on the season.
But with Stork fully healthy at that point (he had opened the year on the IR-designated to return list), the switch was made and Andrews wasn't a big factor the rest of the way. He didn't play at all in the next two games and totaled just 95 snaps over the final four contests of the season, all coming as a result of another player's lack of availability because of injuries.
Fast-forward to Thursday's practice and it was the first indication that things could be different this year for Andrews under returning offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.
Yes, there should always be caution from reading too much into a no-pads May practice, but let's simplify things on the topic. If someone had asked, "Who do you expect to be taking the most center repetitions with Tom Brady at practice?", the answer would have been Stork based on last season.
That it was Andrews instead was notable to me.
Maybe it was a one-practice thing. It also could be a sign that there is going to be a competition of note at center come training camp, with Andrews having a fresh-slate chance under a new coach to reclaim the job he filled well through nine games last year.