Bill Belichick is as secretive about his potential plans heading into a game as any coach in the league so when he was asked to identify his left guard heading into Sunday's opener in Miami his answer came as no surprise.
"We know how we're going to play the game," Belichick said. "Like anything else we do we always have contingency plans. I think we have a lot of good players on the offensive line. We'll see how we play them.
"We have five linemen and we'll play them how we think gives us the best chance to win."
The question obviously stems from last week's trade that sent long-time starter and Pro Bowler Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay in exchange for a fourth-round pick and tight end Tim Wright. That left the Patriots with some questions along the offensive line and Belichick wasn't prepared to answer those publicly.
There would appear to be lots of options, some more complex than others. A recent Boston Globe report indicated the team has asked Sebastian Vollmer to move from right tackle to left guard, leaving Marcus Cannon to fill in for Vollmer, a spot he held over the last half of the season last year when Vollmer was on IR. Under that scenario it's plausible that Ryan Wendell would remain at center while co-captain Dan Connolly stays at right guard.
Josh Kline, who started a game at left guard in 2013, also could be in the starting mix. Cannon has played some guard during the summer as well, leaving him as a possibility.
But Belichick was unwilling to divulge any of his plans, leaving some intrigue when the lineups are introduced in Miami.