Photo: Beth Hart, FlickrBY NICK ST. DENIS
The New England Patriots' offensive line struggled Thursday night. Left tackle Nate Solder didn't help.
Solder, a second-year tackle replacing quarterback Tom Brady's longtime blindside protector Matt Light, had a rough evening in the Patriots' 7-6 preseason victory over the New Orleans Saints.
Solder was called for two holding penalties early on and consistently struggled to stand his ground against the right edge of New Orleans' defensive rush.
New England's offensive line as a whole, which has been hampered with injuries, veteran departures and shifting, didn't allow Brady and the rest of the Patriots' quarterbacks to get into their normal comfort zone.
Brady completed four of seven pass attempts for 30 yards and was strip-sacked once, and New England's three signal-callers combined to complete less than 50 percent of their passes.
"We've played a lot of people at each position," Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the media of New England's offensive line. "I don't think there was any position we didn't play a lot of people. That's what these games are for: to evaluate the players."
According to Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe, Saints defensive end Will Smith said he thought Solder "played pretty well."
Smith was also the one who recorded the quarterback-takedown on Brady.
The Patriots were a lowly five-for-17 on third down, but they did gain 4.1 yards per rushing attempt.
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