For the Patriots, it’s just Wynn, baby!

Andy Hart
November 20, 2019 - 6:46 am
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All’s well in Patriot Nation, New England added the savior of the second half of its season to the roster on Tuesday.

Listen to your team news NOW.

No, Rob Gronkowski didn’t return from retirement. You didn’t fall for that Instagram hype again, did you?

No, Antonio Brown didn’t re-sign with the team. You didn’t fall for the Instagram apology, did you?

Rather, the Patriots activated second-year left tackle Isaiah Wynn from injured reserve.

Based on how much import has been put on Wynn’s return to the field, you’d think the team was adding some Hall of Fame combination of Jonathan Ogden, Matt Light and Anthony Munoz to its struggling offensive line.

Wynn better be as good at blocking out the noisy projections of his impact as he’s proclaimed to be blocking opposing defenders because many seem to be expecting the 2018 first-round pick to cure all that ails the New England offense upon his return. Wynn is under more pressure upon his return than Tom Brady has been with journeyman Marshall Newhouse filling in at left tackle.

The problem is that the expectations being heaped on Wynn are incredibly premature and infinitely unfair.

After all, Wynn has played barely more than a game of NFL action, a grand sum of 82 career offensive snaps under his belt over his first two seasons in Foxborough. Yup, that’s fewer than career backup James Ferentz (85) has played this season and not too many more than emergency fill-in Korey Cunningham (59) and cup-of-coffee tight end Eric Tomlinson (69).

Wynn missed his entire rookie year to a torn Achilles suffered in the summer and the most recent eight games after a foot injury sidelined him in the second quarter of the Week 2 win in Miami.

Despite his limited experience, the generally accepted narrative is that Wynn is going to bring stability to an offensive line that’s been universally blamed for the Patriots offensive struggles through 10 games.

With Wynn back, Sony Michel is suddenly supposed to find plenty of room to run, breaking free from his dismal 3.3-yard average on his 154 rushing attempts. Right?

With Wynn back, Brady will suddenly have time to go through his reads and inject life into a lifeless passing attack. Those harried throwaways into the feet of receivers – or the ones where Brady tries to convince the officials there was indeed a receiver in the vicinity of his premature release – should be a thing of the past. Right?

No longer will Michel be sent to the sideline for long stretches of games.

No longer will Brady be left a pouty, answerless zombie in his postgame press conference, even after wins.

Nope, not with Isaiah Wynn back to work. He moves opposing run stuffers with a simple breath and stops on-coming pass rushers like a brick wall. He’s Super Wynn!

Sure, Wynn is an upgrade over Newhouse. He better be. A young, first-round pick has no reason not be an improvement over a journeyman veteran who joined his seventh NFL team off the street Sept. 11 following the first week of games to open the new season.

Wynn did, after all, win the starting job at the most important line position out of training camp for the defending Super Bowl champs. He and his first-round resume did enough to prove to legendary New England offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia that he was worthy of protecting the 42-year-old G.O.A.T.’s blindside.

Wynn should be an upgrade in all aspects of line play over Newhouse. But how much of an upgrade? Will his presence get veterans Marcus Cannon and Shaq Mason suddenly back to playing their best football on the opposite end of the line? Can he seamlessly slide back in to a group that Scarnecchia always targets for continuity – something it’s essentially had since Week 2 – to ensure there are no communicative issues down the stretch into the most important games of the year?

Oh, and let’s not forget those 82 snaps over the first two games took place in contests in which New England averaged a mere 3.4 and 3.5 yards per carry on the ground.

Make no mistake, Wynn’s return is a good thing. But, he may not be the perfect fit, all’s-right-on-the-offense-now savior that he’s being made out to be.

He’s not Rob Gronkowski or Antonio Brown.

He’s not Matt Light or, heck, even Nate Solder or Trent Brown at this point.

He’s inexperienced, undersized left tackle Isaiah Wynn and he’s probably the last notable addition of talent to the Patriots roster this season.

Just Wynn, baby!

Related: Josh McDaniels won’t comment on ‘frustrated’ Tom Brady’s ‘frame of mind’