The New England Patriots have struggled mightily on offense in their first season without Tom Brady at quarterback. Now, it will be even more difficult for Cam Newton and his lackluster supporting cast to put points on the scoreboard.
With Isaiah Wynn landing on injured reserve, the Patriots just suffered a devastating blow to their already-anemic offense. Can Bill Belichick find an adequate replacement for his young left tackle? Or will Wynn’s absence lead to even more problems for a unit that ranks just 27th in scoring?
New England has struggled to put points on the board this season
For years, the Patriots boasted one of the best offenses in the NFL. Of course, it helped to have the greatest quarterback of all time under center.
After showing signs of slippage in 2019, New England has basically been a mess on that side of the ball in 2020.
Currently, the Patriots rank 27th in scoring at a clip of 20.9 points per game. They haven’t finished outside of the top-10 since 2003.
While Damien Harris has emerged as a rising star, Patriot Nation hasn’t had much to cheer about when the offense has been on the field. N’Keal Harry looks like a major draft whiff by Belichick. Fellow former first-round pick Sony Michel may be on his way out after another injury-shortened season.
Meanwhile, the tight end situation has reached laughable status. Ryan Izzo has looked overmatched as a blocker and provides little in the passing game. Rookies Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene both landed on injured reserve after failing to make an impact during the early portion of the season.
New England’s personnel problems on offense have put Newton in an unenviable situation. Without a reliable cast of weapons, he has struggled to string together consistent performances. Overall, the Patriots simply haven’t gotten the job done on that side of the ball through 10 games.
The Patriots just suffered a devastating blow to their anemic offense
Despite all their issues at the skill positions, the Patriots boast one of the better offensive lines in the league. At least, they did before Saturday.
ESPN’s Field Yates reported via Twitter that New England will place Isaiah Wynn on injured reserve. Rex Burkhead and Carl Davis will also land on the list.
Losing Wynn represents a devastating blow for the Patriots and their anemic offense. The talented left tackle had been playing the best football of his young career before he suffered a knee injury against the Houston Texans.
Staying healthy has been a major issue for the former first-round pick. Wynn missed his entire rookie campaign due to a torn Achilles. He played just eight games in 2019 due to a toe ailment.
By landing on IR, the 24-year-old blindside protector will miss at least three games. That puts the Patriots in a precarious position. Will Bill Belichick shuffle the rest of the offensive line to get his best five on the field? Or will he go with the “next man up” approach at one of the most important positions in football?
Who will replace Isaiah Wynn at left tackle?
Although Isaiah Wynn has yet to make a Pro Bowl, he has been rock-solid at left tackle this season. But now that he’s on IR, the Patriots will have to replace him in the lineup.
So who could get the call?
Joe Thuney could get moved from guard to tackle so the Patriots can get their five best offensive linemen on the field. In that case, standout rookie Michael Onwenu can line up at left guard, and Jermaine Eluemunor can man his more familiar right tackle spot.
On the other hand, Belichick could elect to leave the rest of the line alone and just plug in Eluemunor at left tackle. The veteran filled in for Wynn last week, but he did not look overly impressive.
Perhaps the Patriots will give Justin Herron an opportunity to man the blind side. The sixth-round rookie earned two starts earlier in the season before an ankle injury landed him on injured reserve.
The 6-foot-4, 308-pounder has certainly been a surprise contributor given his draft pedigree. And now, he could be next in line to keep Cam Newton upright.
No pressure, kid.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.