Highlighting rotation at center

August, 21, 2012
8/21/12
1:15
PM ET
While some miscues at offensive tackle were spotlighted after the Patriots' 27-17 loss to the Eagles, let's look to the interior and point out the evolving center competition and how the coaching staff split up the reps in the game.

Ryan Wendell -- 17 snaps (drives 1, 2, and 9)
Dan Koppen -- 24 snaps (drives 3, 7 and 8)
Nick McDonald -- 23 snaps (drives 4, 5, 6)
Donald Thomas -- 10 snaps (drives, 10, 11, 12)

A few quick-hit thoughts:

1. Dan Connolly, who stepped in at center last year with Koppen sustained an injured foot in the season-opener, has been working exclusively at right guard. Some might view that as a sign that veteran Brian Waters isn't coming back.

2. No major issues with the shotgun snap from any center -- 36 of the 74 plays were out of the 'gun.

3. For what it's worth, Koppen was at center on the team's best drive of the night, the 13-play, 80-yard touchdown march.

4. Thomas has mostly been a guard, but the late-game work at center -- which he did in practice in 2011 at times -- gives the coaching staff something else to consider from a versatility standpoint. The Patriots generally like to go into games with seven linemen, so the backups have to cover multiple spots.

Here was the full breakdown of complete offensive line combinations:

1. Solder-McDonald-Wendell-Connolly-Cannon (4 plays)
2. Solder-McDonald-Wendell-Connolly-Cannon (10 plays)
3. Solder-McDonald-Koppen-Connolly-Cannon (16 plays)
4. Solder-Thomas-McDonald-Warren-Cannon (2 plays)
5. Solder-Thomas-McDonald-Warren-Cannon (15 plays)
6. Solder-Thomas-McDonald-Warren-Cannon (6 plays)
7. Weems-Thomas-Koppen-Warren-McDonald (3 plays)
8. Weems-Thomas-Koppen-Warren-McDonald (5 plays)
9. Weems-Thomas-Wendell-Warren-McDonald (3 plays)
10. Weems-Dennis-Thomas-Warren-McDonald (3 plays)
11. Weems-Dennis-Thomas-Warren-McDonald (3 plays)
12. Weems-Thomas-Thomas-Waldron-Hill (4 plays)

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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