The Patriots on activated Bryan Stork of the short term injured reserve on Saturday. Stork was recovering from a concussion. By rule, the center’s placement on short term IR meant that he had to miss the team’s first eight games. In a corresponding move, the team placed offensive lineman Ryan Wendell on season ending injured reserve.
Both moves highlight the health issues the Patriots have had along the offensive line season. Wendell and Stork were both starters on last season’s Super Bowl XLIX champion team. New England will also be without starting left tackle and Super Bowl XLIX winner Nate Solder the rest of the season due to injury. With only a limited number of healthy linemen, the Patriots may choose to get creative in their approach.
Undrafted rookie David Andrews has filled in well in Stork’s absence, but Stork is the better player and would play center if everyone else was healthy. This could still end up being the case, but with the injuries up front the Patriots could choose to play both at the same time with Stork kicking out to guard or even tackle.
Stork, in his second season, began starting in week four last season and remained the starter through New England’s Super Bowl victory. As well as starting experience last year, he also has experience playing with rookie guard Tre Jackson, both were on the Florida State team that won a National Championship in 2014.