FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots already have been warned about getting high, but they’ve shrugged off playing in Denver’s altitude.
If any Patriots are going to affected, it will be the 300-pound offensive linemen who are asked to play every snap. Starting left tackle Nate Solder has experience with the altitude since he grew up in Buena Vista, Colo., and played for the University of Colorado.
The 6-foot-8, 315-pound Solder said altitude shouldn’t be a problem as the Patriots travel to Denver to play the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game.
“I don’t know,” Solder said. “We’ll have to see. I grew up at altitude. I played at altitude for my whole life. I don’t know whether there was an effect or not. I didn’t ever notice a big thing.”
Solder won’t have to face Broncos All-Pro linebacker Von Miller on Sunday, but the protector of quarterback Tom Brady‘s blind side still has his work cut out for him. Defensive end Shaun Phillips sacked San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers twice last week in Denver’s divisional-round playoff win. Versatile defensive lineman Malik Jackson also had a sack.
“Well, I always take it from the ground up,” Solder said about not facing Miller, who sacked Brady twice in Week 12. “I go from scratch. I look at the guys, what they’ve done recently, who’s in there recently. I think no matter who they’re going to put in there, those guys are gonna play hard. They’re talented, their coaches put them in the right spots. I think it’s going to be tough no matter what.”