Patriots could get creative when it comes to replacing Isaiah Wynn

Ryan Hannable
September 18, 2019 - 9:48 am
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The Patriots' shuffling along their offensive line will continue again this week, and potentially moving forward.

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On Tuesday, starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn was placed on injured reserve, which means he has to miss at least the next eight games. The earliest he can return is Nov. 17 against the Eagles. As the corresponding move, the team brought in interior lineman Caleb Benenoch.

As of Wednesday, here is the Patriots' depth up front: Joe Thuney, Ted Karras, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, Korey Cunningham, Marshall Newhouse, Jermaine Eluemunor, James Ferentz and Benenoch.

It's worth noting Cannon missed Week 2 with a shoulder injury, but went through pregame warmup, so perhaps he could be ready to return this week. Newhouse started in his place at right tackle, but then when Wynn went down, he shifted to left tackle and Cunningham came in to play right tackle.

It wasn't perfect, but given what the team was dealing with it got the job done.

“I think they're trying to do the best they can. There's some moving parts there. Some of them anticipated or had a chance to plan for, some happened rather quickly and you have to react to those,” Bill Belichick said earlier this week. “But yeah, that group is a hardworking group. They've communicated well together and the guys with more experience helping some of the guys with less experience, but overall we've just tried to take it day-by-day and do the things that we can do. We can't do everything but we can do the things that we feel confident in, that we're able to practice and prepare for and hopefully we can do a good job of those as we're starting to expand overall with that group.”

So, where do the Patriots go from here?

It appears the Patriots really value Benenoch, as he started all 16 games for the Buccaneers last season at right guard. This is where it gets interesting. Perhaps, Thuney, who is the most versatile lineman, could kick out to left tackle and then Benenoch would slide into left guard. It is worth noting Thuney did some work over the summer at left tackle while Wynn was working his way back from an Achilles injury that caused him to miss all of last season.

"Joe's our most versatile lineman on the team, so that is an important role for us to have in terms of maintaining our depth with the group," Belichick said.

Or, if the team wants to keep players where they are, Newhouse could just stay at left tackle, but if that were the case the move for Benenoch wouldn't make much sense.

Things also depend on Cannon's availability. If he's still out it would come down to Newhouse and Cunningham to play on the right side. If Newhouse isn't playing left tackle, then he seems to be the best choice, but if he is at left tackle then it would be Cunningham.

Bottom line, the addition of Benenoch was telling because the team seemed fine on the interior, which indicates maybe Thuney could see his position change beginning this week.

Related: Patriots offensive line depth a growing concern