Kim Klement/US Presswire
Nate Solder is ready for whatever the coaching staff has in mind.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With Sebastian Vollmer ruled out for Sunday's game in Buffalo, Patriots rookie Nate Solder is expected to make his second start in three games at right tackle. In between, he dusted off his tight end skills and showed how the Patriots can utilize him as an extra blocker in three-tight end sets.
The 17th overall pick in this year's draft is simply eager to help out on the field any way he can.
"I absorb everything they put on my plate and, whatever that is, I’m ready to do it," said Solder. "You prepare through the week to do everything."
Solder got thrust into the fire in Week 1, starting in place of an injured Vollmer in Miami, where he more than held his own against Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake while playing all 80 snaps (he allowed three quarterback pressures, but no sacks). With Vollmer back on the field last week against San Diego, Solder spent time as a third tight end, lining up for 17 snaps as an extra run blocker, but never released into a pass route.
So when was the last time he actually caught a pass as a tight end?
"Probably my freshman year of college," said the 6-foot-8, 320-pound Solder, who caught three passes for 50 yards in that 2007 season at Colorado before making the switch to the offensive line. "I don't think [catching passes] is something you can forget, because there would be no reason to practice all those years unless it was something you could get better at. I'm not at the level I was at then as a pass catcher... but I'm in there and ready to do what they want me to do."
So did he tell offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien to sneak him out on some routes moving forward?
"No, I am in no position to open my mouth as a rookie," Solder said with a laugh. "I do what they tell me."