Patriots notebook: crumbling New England offensive line leading up to Week 5 contest against Texans
If you catch yourself scratching your head and wondering who’s blocking ahead of Mac Jones on Sunday against the Texans, you’re not alone. The Patriots offensive line went through the bell this week and will now have to replace four of its five starting linemen for their Week 5 game in Houston. Center David Andrews will be the only Week 1 starter remaining healthy enough to adjust to New England, while left tackle Isaiah Wynn, left guard Mike Onwenu, right guard Shaq Mason and right tackle Trent Brown are all sidelined.
For Wynn and Onwenu, they were placed on the reserve / COVID-19 list at the start of the week and were not activated until the club traveled to Houston, meaning as soon as we can. seeing those two is next week against Dallas. As for Mason (abdomen) and Brown (calf), they did not train at all this week and were excluded on Friday due to an injury.
In Brown’s case, he was sidelined for most of the season, having played just seven snaps in Game 1 against Miami before leaving due to the calf condition. On Saturday, New England placed Brown on the injured reserve, which will require him to retire for at least the next three weeks, further straining his season.
What was once considered the Patriots’ greatest force on the offensive end of the ball is now scrambling to find bodies to block for their rookie quarterback.
The team raised James Ferentz, Alex Redmond and Will Sherman on the active roster leading up to Week 5 and these three will now feature in the O-line rotation to some extent. Tackle Justin Herron and guard Ted Karras will likely claim two of the available starting positions along the line, while Bill Belichick will then look to Yasir Durant, Yodny Cajuste, Ferentz, Redmond and Sherman to fill in the rest of the depth table. .
So far this season, Herron and Durant have replaced Brown in the right tackle and the results haven’t been stellar as each has been benched at some point. Herron leads the team in cleared presses (13) in the first month while Durant allowed three sacks.
When you add those injuries to the starters and the poor play of their substitutes when they get the chance, what was previously considered a relatively soft touchdown point for the Texans after an eventful Week 4 against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers is now very threatened. with New England possibly facing a 1-4 record.
How to watch
Dated: Sunday October 10 | Time: 1 p.m. ET
Site: NRG Stadium (Houston)
TV: CBS | Flux: Paramount + (click here)
To follow: CBS Sports app
Chances: Patriots -8, O / U 39
The post-Gilmore era
The stunner of the week was Patriots star cornerback Stephon Gilmore at the Carolina Panthers after the two sides failed to agree on a new contract. While you might wonder if the compensation – a future sixth-round pick – was enough for a player of Gilmore’s caliber, the Patriots seemed to misjudge their position with the player going back some time.
Gilmore’s desire for a new contract that has brought him financially among his peers across the league has been bubbling up for the past few years. Last season the team moved money from 2021 to 2020 to soften Gilmore’s contract for that year, but it was just the Patriots kicking the road. If they had known at the time that they didn’t want to expand Gilmore beyond what they were already waking up to, it would have made more sense to Bill Belichick – who ships players a year too early than a year too late – – to move Gilmore before 2020. Sure, the pullback is 20/20, but New England has seemed to play that asset poorly in recent years.
As for what happens next, all eyes are on JC Jackson, who will continue to be considered the team’s No.1 corner. In the first month, Jackson played well, totaling two interceptions and only granting a 54.5 passer rating, according to PFF.
And if there’s anything the Patriots can learn from their situation with Gilmore, it might be to find a long-term solution with the 25-year-old, who is playing on a one-year contract this season.
Need of speed?
Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison pointed out one of the Patriots’ underrated defense flaws, especially at linebacker: a lack of speed.
“You’re spot on. It doesn’t seem like they’re slow, and I love these guys and I have so much respect for these guys, but yeah they’re slow,” Harrison told “Merloni & Fauria” from WEEI Thursday. “When you start to watch LaVonte David, you start to watch Devin White move and blitz and go from side to side line to side, that’s the difference between day and night.
“And that’s what really stood out to me. I’m like, ‘Look how fast and athletic the Tampa Bay linebackers look.’ And the Patriots linebackers, the defense looks slow. It’s always kind of like that, and it starts with these backers, man. These guys have experience and things like that, but it’s something. thing the Patriots really need to improve on a bit on the move is speed.
The Patriots brought back veteran Jamie Collins after his release from the Detroit Lions, but Harrison didn’t seem entirely impressed with the signing either.
“I don’t think it was something that – it didn’t move me when they said they were signing Jamie Collins,” he said. “May be [Bill] Belichick can get that fire back in him and he’s probably the only trainer who really knows how to use it. I don’t know, man. This may be the case for Jamie. He has to show that he can still play, that he still wants to play. “
Belichick vs Rookie QB
It’ll be another week Bill Belichick faces a rookie quarterback as the Texans start Davis Mills in their Week 5 clash on Sunday. The head coach is 22-6 against freshman quarterbacks and his defenses have also allowed just 9.5 points per game in their last six games against freshman callers (Zach Wilson, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold, and Josh Allen were the six QBs).
Brian Belichick acknowledges Steve’s viral moment
Outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick went viral during Sunday night’s New England soccer game with the Buccaneers last week for his weird facial expressions which were captured by NBC cameras. On Tuesday Brian Belichick, Steve’s brother and Patriots safety coach, said he appreciates the memes coming from his different faces.
“I wouldn’t say it’s normal,” he told WEEI.com. “I wouldn’t read too much. He’s focused. Locked up. He probably didn’t even think about what he was doing. I thought he did a great job on Sunday. Memes and stuff.”