FOXBORO, Mass. — Sebastian Vollmer is back for the New England Patriots just in time for the playoffs, and now he has to deal with the Kansas City Chiefs’ pass rush.
New England’s battered offensive line will be taking on a unit consisting of the likes of Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and second-year linebacker Dee Ford. And even though Hali and Houston have been dealing with injuries this season, Vollmer doesn’t think that matters much.
“It’s the playoffs,” Vollmer said before practice Wednesday. “I don’t think anyone is 100 percent out there. It’s just part of the game and it’s a physical game. (Hali’s) a force out there. He has been for a long time. He’s been giving us problems, giving a lot of guys a lot of problems. … I think they’re fourth in sacks this year, and it shows.”
Vollmer was spot-on with his statistics, as the Chiefs were fourth in sacks during the regular season with 47. Overall, K.C.’s defense allowed just 17.9 points per game, which was good for third in the NFL. And Vollmer chalked it up to the fact that guys like Hali, Houston and Ford are just plain good.
“Great unit. We played most of those guys last year,” Vollmer said. “Good pass rushers, playing hard, good run stoppers, really a force out there. The numbers speak for themselves, and I think they show that, too. I don’t think it’s a fluke or anything. They’re just a good overall unit, no doubt.”
New England’s O-line will have its work cut out come Saturday at Gillette Stadium. The unit has dealt with its fair share of injuries and the younger offensive linemen have struggled to keep quarterback Tom Brady upright. Brady has been sacked 38 times this year compared to 21 times in 2014.
But Vollmer said the Patriots’ O-line shouldn’t be judged by that alone.
“I think it’s about improvement,” Vollmer said. “We’ve been at it since April, May, the mini camps and all that stuff … and I think it doesn’t really matter how old you are. I’m working on my things, and younger guys are working on theirs, and it might be different things you’re working on, but hopefully it’s getting better every week.”
Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images
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