FOXBORO, Mass — The Patriots' first-round pick has been a good soldier about his position flexibility.
Shortly after the Patriots drafted Nate Solder in April, head coach Bill Belichick said firmly that he'd be a left tackle. Now, five weeks after the start of training camp, Solder has played left tackle and right tackle in games and right guard in practice. He started at right tackle while playing with the first-team offense Thursday against the Giants before shifting to the left side in the second half.
"I play where they need me," Solder said. "If they need me at right tackle, I'll be there. If they want me at left tackle, I'll be there. Whatever it takes.
"Any way that I can contribute to the team, I'm going to try to do it. I'm fighting for a role to this team, and that's what I'm going to try to do."
Solder has performed well at both tackle positions, but the media has only seen him take a few snaps at guard. More than likely, he's only worked out on the interior of the line to be ready in an emergency situation.
He discussed the challenge of changing positions after spending so much time at left tackle at Colorado.
"There's a lot of things in your brain that you've programmed for so long to be on the left that you've got to kind of flip to be on the right," Solder said. "I kind of feel like it's a left-handed lay-up in basketball. You do it a few times, you kind of get the hang of it. It kind of came to me over time."
Sure, leave it to the 6-foot-8 professional athlete to shrug off the challenge of a left-handed lay-up. But at the very least, he's been open to the idea of playing anywhere on the offensive line, and he has taken the challenges in stride.
"Every position comes with its difficulties," Solder said. "When you try a new position, you kind of learn those. That kind of was the case [Thursday against the Giants], and I've got a lot to learn."