Patriots’ ‘Undisclosed’ Absence Could Lead to Lineup Shift

Getty Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots have great depth at multiple positions, and the offensive line is one of those units. An undisclosed absence could lead to a lineup shift.

The Athletic’s Jeff Howe took note of a potentially important development at OTAs on Friday. He wrote:

Trent Brown got some work on the blind side with Mike Onwenu at right tackle. Isaiah Wynn hasn’t practiced for undisclosed reasons. If Wynn goes down again during the season, the Patriots would seemingly have two options at tackle – Brown on the left side with Onwenu at right tackle, or Justin Herron at left tackle with Brown sticking on the right side.

Brown was expected to play right tackle while Wynn would man the left side. It is unclear if Wynn has sustained an injury, and if he has, if it is something that could lead to time away from the team during the season.

If that’s the case, Onwenu, last year’s star rookie, would again be forced to play away from his best position, which is guard. Ideally, he would have been replacing Joe Thuney, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason.

Onwenu and the underrated Shaq Mason make for a potentially imposing set of interior O-linemen. Onwenu is versatile enough to play well at multiple positions. However, New England’s potentially dominant O-line is at its best if he’s at guard.

New England Has Multiple Versatile Pieces

While Onwenu would be in his best position at guard, New England has compiled the kind of depth along the O-line that will make it more than functional even if Wynn is sidelined for a time.

The team brought back Ted Karras, who can play either guard and center. There’s also second-year player Justin Herron who can play tackle.

The number of combinations the Patriots can use is in their favor.

Patriots Rookie William Sherman

Don’t sleep on the possibility of Patriots rookie William Sherman perhaps factoring into the equation this season. New England drafted Sherman in the 2021 NFL Draft in the sixth round.

We saw last year with Onwenu and Herron, a late-round pick on the offensive line can play a major role if they’re ready.

Sherman says he has somewhat patterned his game after Wynn, so there is a natural fit for him on the Patriots’ roster.

Shortly after being drafted, Sherman spoke with reporters about his connection to Wynn and joining the Patriots.

It’s kind of hard not to watch the Patriots in the postseason because they’re so consistent in getting there and I’m excited to now be a part of this. It’s crazy because one of the guys who I’ve watched is Isaiah Wynn just because he’s about the same size as I am, still playing left tackle too. So just trying to watch him play left tackle, mirror his feet, his technique, his hands and all that stuff. So it’s crazy to actually get drafted by the Patriots now just because he was definitely a guy who I used to watch in college a lot.

Having Wynn in the lineup is likely the Patriots’ Plan A, but with their depth, Plan B might be better than most teams’ first option.


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