New England Patriots Sign Matt Light: 5 Players Most Impacted

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IJuly 31, 2011

New England Patriots Sign Matt Light: 5 Players Most Impacted

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    Over the past week, the big news for the New England Patriots has revolved around the acquisition of Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth.

    Perhaps some of the biggest news, though, is the re-signing of free agent left tackle Matt Light to a two-year contract, as first reported by Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe on Sunday night.

    This impacts the offense on many levels. The left tackle is widely considered the second most important position on the offense, and the Patriots have locked down a player that has locked down that position for the past 10 years.

    Let's take a look at exactly who feels the impact the most.

    Erik Frenz is the co-host of the PatsPropaganda and Frenz podcast. Follow Erik on Twitter @erikfrenz.

Mark LeVoir

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    In the first few sessions at Patriots training camp, Mark Levoir has been in the mix as the starter at right tackle.

    The prospect of starting LeVoir has been bounced back and forth. He has played in 32 games, but only started in two. Not many are confident in his ability to take on a starting role.

    With Matt Light's deal now inked, look for LeVoir to spend a bit more time working with the second and third string teams.

Sebastian Vollmer

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    The absence of Light has caused several disturbances in the Patriots offensive line in training camp. One has been the aforementioned starting role thrust upon LeVoir. The other has been flipping Sebastian Vollmer to left tackle in Light's stead.

    This isn't Vollmer's first rodeo at left tackle, though. The big German has filled in for Light in the past, filling in at left tackle when Light was injured in 2009. Vollmer did, however, fill in incredibly well at right tackle for Nick Kaczur last year.

    The Patriots will be eager to get Vollmer back on the right side, and Vollmer will be more than happy to oblige.

Logan Mankins

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    Logan Mankins has been one of the best left guards in the game for awhile. That being said, he can't protect Brady's blind side by himself.

    If anyone's up to the job, it's Mankins. Nonetheless, I suspect he's happier with Light by his side.

    That's not to say that Vollmer is incapable, but the brotherhood of offensive linemen is tight, and Mankins knows he can trust Light fully.

Nate Solder

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    When the Patriots made Nate Solder their first-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft, it was widely considered that Light's days in a Patriots uniform were numbered.

    With a shortened offseason, the Patriots simply haven't had enough time to get started on the development of their franchise left tackle of the future. Nate Solder hasn't even seen the inside of the facilities yet, as he has yet to ink his deal.

    The Patriots clearly feel that Solder will need time before they feel comfortable pushing him into a starting role.

    It's also important for Solder to have that veteran mentor, and Light can provide that as the rookie gets his sea legs in the NFL.

Tom Brady

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    The left tackle that Tom Brady has spent his entire career with will be back for two more seasons.

    The timing that Brady and Light have developed as a result of working with one another is profound, and has contributed to the reputation of both players.

    Some would say Matt Light's elite blocking has been a big reason for Brady's success, others would say it's the pocket presence of Brady that has made Light look better.

    It's a mix of both, but it's the relationship between the two that works in the benefit of both parties.

Conclusion

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    Matt Light's return is being regarded warmly by the media, but the man isn't without his weaknesses. In fact, according to Stats.com, the Patriots franchise left tackle gave up 10 of Brady's 25 sacks last year.

    Still, the prospect of a veteran at left tackle is much more promising than an untapped, unsigned rookie in the spot.

    Especially when the franchise is standing in the pocket.