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Sunday, September 11, 2011
Vollmer out; Solder to step in

By Mike Reiss

Greg M. Cooper/US PresswireSecond-year OT Sebastian Vollmer was downgraded to out for Monday's game.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Patriots have downgraded starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer to out for Monday's season opener against the Dolphins. Vollmer has missed the last two weeks with a back injury, and this almost certainly thrusts first-round draft choice Nate Solder into the starting lineup at right tackle. The Patriots don't have any other pure tackles on the roster.

In addition to Vollmer, backup right defensive end Jermaine Cunningham (groin), reserve receiver Taylor Price (hamstring), backup center/guard Ryan Wendell (calf) and backup linebacker Jeff Tarpinian (knee) have also been downgraded to out.

With Vollmer and Wendell out, the Patriots currently only have six offensive linemen available. One of them, Dan Connolly, is returning from a foot injury, while veteran Brian Waters just joined the team last Sunday. The Patriots have Thomas Welch, Matt Kopa and Nick McDonald on the practice squad.

Cunningham has been working behind veteran Andre Carter, while Price added depth behind top receivers Chad Ochocinco, Wes Welker and Deion Branch.

Albert Haynesworth, who missed Saturday's practice with an illness, has made the trip with the team.

The Patriots will have to downgrade two more players 90 minutes before Monday's kickoff.