In his regular Q&A chat session on RavensInsider.com, SIRIUS NFL Radio host and Scout.com senior NFL reporter Adam Caplan expressed concern over the injury situation to offensive linemen in New England. Caplan made a special note of the recovery expected for Russ Hochstein who was projected to fill in for Stephen Neal at right guard.
Neal was placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list this week and will not return until after week six of the regular season. According to Caplan, Hochstein's injury is significant enough that he may miss the first few weeks of the regular season. If accurate, that's bad news for the Patriots who see Hochstein as one of the best offensive lineman not starting. Head coach Bill Belichick said that Hochstein's versatility is vital to the Patriots offensive line group, and losing that would be an issue.
"I dont know where we would be without it really," Belichick said of Hochstein's versatility. " Russ is one of the most solid and consistent players we have on our team. He is really the same guy everyday, whether it be practice, games, preseason or postseason, the first quarter, or the fourth quarter - it doesnt matter. He is a very consistent and dependable guy."
Belichick went on to compliment Hochstein's performance.
"The best compliment you can give a lineman like that is, you dont really realize when he is in there. He is a solid guy and the last game he played in, he played well and that was a big game. He has been a very dependable guy for us with great inside versatility."
Exactly what the Patriots will do to shore up an offensive line beset by injuries is still being decided, with the fourth preseason game the final testing ground to get a look at possible replacements in Billy Yates, Mike Flynn, Dan Connolly and John Welbourn.
The entire Q&A can be found here: Ravens Insider
Also in the Q&A are questions about Tom Brady's and Peyton Manning's injuries.
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