Light has been great ever since, making the All-Rookie Team in 2001 and being a Pro Bowler in 2006 and 2007. His pretty good year was interrupted by an injury suffered against the Denver Broncos.
Then in steps Sebastian Vollmer. Had anyone heard of this guy before the season started? If not, you will certainly know his name by the end of the season. The Pats drafted Vollmer in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Vollmer didn't even start playing football until he was 14 and didn't start to play tackle until his sophomore year at the University of Houston. He made an immediate impact though, making First Team All-Conference USA.
After being drafted by the Patriots, he wasn't expected to get much playing time since Light was already a solid player at left tackle. But Light's injury opened the door for Vollmer, and he has taken full advantage of it.
Vollmer has already gone up against some of the best defensive linemen and linebackers in the game and played tremendously. He was able to neutralize Joey Porter and held him to zero tackles in a big Patriots win.
Then he faced off against Dwight Freeney and was able to contain him to give Tom Brady more than enough time, though the Pats fell just short.
Vollmer also has an advantage over Light in that he is six years younger.
While Matt Light is expected to come back before the season ends, I think Vollmer should keep his starting job for his performance. Belichick has been known to go with the hot hand, most notably keeping Brady as the starting QB after Drew Bledsoe was ready to return.
If Light does start, don't expect Vollmer to just go away. A great battle is ahead between these two to see who starts for the Patriots at left tackle.