With the availability of starting right guard Dan Connolly in question for Sunday's game at the Bills, this week's "Under the Helmet" podcast highlights his potential replacement, Ryan Wendell.
A former teammate of Logan Mankins and James Sanders at Fresno State, the 6-foot-2, 290-pound Wendell has worked behind the scenes for three years and now looks ready to break through. At one point last year, he could have signed on with another team's active roster, but he decided to stay in New England on the practice squad instead.
That decision looks like it's paying off now.
"I think that Dante [Scarnecchia] is a great coach, I love being around him, and I've become a better player being around him," Wendell explained of his thought process at the time. "This organization, you can't say enough about it, from Bill to all the way down. There are other opportunities, at other times and other places, but I don't know if anyone can pass up the opportunity to be part of this team."
Wendell also explains why teammates and coaches call him "Wendy", a nickname which has stuck since his high school days.