Now just days away from the season opener, The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin joined Toucher & Rich to talk about the Patriots.
In the conversation, Volin was asked about Tim Wright, the second-year tight end who was acquired in the Logan Mankins trade. Volin said that the team’s desire to go out and get this player shows that the team has some decently high expectations for him.
“The way I see it is that [Bill] Belichick targeted this kid,” Volin said. “They did not have to make this Mankins trade. It’s not like there was a burning cap issue or a major quarrel with the player. They decided on their own that they were going to trade Mankins, and they targeted this kid to kind of replace the things that Aaron Hernandez did in the offense. Belichick loves these Rutgers guys. Obviously Tim Wright got the thumbs-up from Greg Schiano, which is all Belichick needs to hear.
“I think they brought him in to play. One of the things you hear constantly from the players and the coaches is how smart Tim Wright is and how quickly he was able to pick some things up just to play in that preseason game against the Giants last week.”
As for what kind of impact Wright will have, it should be noticeable.
“I don’t think he’s going to be Aaron Hernandez right away — I think that’s putting too much on him,” Volin said. “But he could be a nice complementary piece. He’ll probably do some of the same things that Brandon LaFell does, just kind of being a move tight end and you can put him at the slot or even put him out wide. And as Gronk … even though he’ll play, Gronk will probably work back a little bit slowly, so I think Tim Wright is going to have an impact right away for the Patriots.”
As for filling the void at left guard following the Mankins deal, Volin said it shouldn’t be impossible for Sebastian Vollmer to play the position for the first time in his career.
“I don’t think it’s the worst idea to kick him inside. Offensive line play isn’t rocket science. I think Vollmer is athletic enough and smart enough that he can kind of pick it up,” Volin said. “Vollmer is coming off a broken leg, so I’m not sure where his quickness is right now to play right tackle and handle a guy like Cameron Wake coming off the edge. The team has always liked Marcus Cannon’s skill set at tackle a little bit better [than guard], and he’s never played left guard either. I don’t think, we can all agree, that any of these kids are ready to start at left guard, whether it’s Josh Kline or Jordan Devey or anyone like that.
“So yeah, I think it does make sense to kick Vollmer inside. I was told that Belichick met with the veterans last Friday and kind of told Vollmer and Cannon and the guys to get ready for this. So we’ll see what happens. I know it’s a little non-traditional if you’ve got two oak trees on the left side of the line with Solder and Vollmer both 6-foot-8, but I think that’s a decent way to solidify the middle of your offensive line, which was kind of leaky last year.”
Listen to the full discussion below: