Nate Solder and Logan Mankins are two Patriots offensive linemen that you often hear about. The Patriots line has been a topic of discussion the entire season because of the carousel of players going in and out of the starting lineup. One player you don't normally hear about is the center, Ryan Wendell.
Wendell lead not only the Patriots, but the entire NFL in the most snaps played this regular season. He played 1,231 offensive plays, and 148 special teams plays. This guy went undrafted in 2008, and this his first year starting in the NFL. When Wendell was asked about this achievment, Wendell was quick to praise the organization, saying,
"It says a lot about the organization as a whole. The guys around us, our athletic trainers [head athletic trainer] Jim Whalen and [assistant athletic trainer] Joe Van Allen, along with the strength training coaches, [head strength and conditioning coach] Herald Nash, [assistant strength and conditioning coach] Moses Cabrera, who spend a lot of time and effort trying to make sure we're healthy and out on the field as much as we can."
Second in the NFL in this category was fellow offensive lineman Nate Solder who actually played two more offensive snaps than Wendell. This shows how efficient and high-powered the Patriots offense is. Solder had this to say about Wendell's achievment and importance to the team:
"I think we all feed off each other. " [Wendell]'s one of those guys who's always working hard. He's always taking care of his body, I think that's a big part of the reason he's been able to do that."No one appreciates the offensive line more than the guy they are protecting. Tom Brady had nothing but great things to say about Ryan:
"He’s done a great job. He’s really done a great job since he got here. He fought for his opportunity and once he got it this year, he really took advantage. He’s been healthy and durable, consistent. Playing center on our team is not easy. There are a lot of adjustments and calls that we have, both the communication I have with him and what he relays on to the rest of the offensive linemen. He’s done a great job. He’s a tough, hard-nosed football player that loves the game and loves to compete."This guy beat out Dan Koppen for the starting position and he is probably just entering his prime at the age of 26. He needs to continue to perform well as we head into the playoffs, and we hope he can be a rock in the line for years to come.
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