FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For the first time all season, Patriots right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is not listed on the team's official injury report. That's a good sign for the fourth-year tackle, who has dealt with both ankle and back issues, leading into a divisional-round matchup with the Houston Texans this weekend
Asked if his absence from the injury report could be taken as a sign that he's feeling as good as he has all year, Vollmer replied, "Yeah, I guess. I feel pretty good, and whatever the injury report says, it says."
Having Vollmer at full strength is a plus for a Patriots offensive line that will be dealing with one of, if not the best, defensive linemen in the league, J.J. Watt.
"I think all of us are going to face him eventually," Vollmer said of Watt. "Mostly on the right, between me and Dan [Connolly] I guess, and he's a really good player, I think he's proven that with 20.5 sacks or whatever he had in the regular season, it's going to be a challenge, and I'm sure he's going to be excited to play in the playoff game, and so are we. I think every team is going to bring their best."
Stopping Watt will be a collaborative effort for the Patriots offense, and could also involve both tight ends and running backs.
Running back Danny Woodhead said on Friday that he didn't recall an instance of being the lone blocker in between Watt and quarterback Tom Brady during the teams' first meeting, but pondered the possibility leading into Sunday.
"I'd have to do whatever I can [to block him] if that was my responsibility," he said with a laugh. "Do whatever I can to slow him down."