Things haven’t been easy for the New England Patriots as rookie quarterback Mac Jones learns the pro game. But their big issue this week may not be what’s taking place under center.
Instead, they could be missing most of the key players on the offensive line. You know, the men whose job it is to protect Jones.
As Mike Reiss of ESPN relayed, four of the Patriots’ top five offensive linemen were missing at Friday’s practice. The list consisted of left tackle Isaiah Wynn (COVID list), left guard Mike Onwenu (ditto), right guard Shaq Mason (abdomen) and right tackle Trent Brown (right calf). As Reiss also relayed, “Depth to be tested.”
Gosh, ya think?
This is the opposite of how things went for Bill Belichick during the Tom Brady era, when the ball always seemed to bounce New England’s way. (And in the event it didn’t bounce enough, it was allegedly inflated.)
As it stands, the Patriots are 1-3 and coming off a tough loss to Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But that’s the end of the bad news, for now, as the Patriots get to face the sad-sack Houston Texans this week.
Question is, will they be able to block anyone or keep Jones from getting creamed?
Of course, there is also the betting angle. FanDuel has the Patriots listed as 8.5-point favorites. Against the Texans, most teams may not need an offensive line to cover that spread. But New England is a team with a rookie QB.
Regardless of the point spread, the Patriots need a win — whether it be by 8.5 points or 1.5. Without the regular offensive linemen, well, it’s safe to say it may not be so easy to come by. For New England, it never is.