Safeguards are fighting for limited places online
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – In soccer, the rules say you can only play five offensive linemen in a given scrimmage game. Ideally, coaches want the same five players in the same five locations throughout the season, for consistency and efficiency.
During the 2020 season, the Patriots must have had the players mixed up a bit due to injuries, but so far this summer in training camp, familiar names have seen a lot of action in their most familiar places.
Returning co-captain David Andrews anchored the line from its normal center position. Shaq mason continues to keep a stranglehold on the right guard post, while picking up free agents Trent Brown, who played left tackle in his first round with the Patriots in 2018, seems entrenched in right tackle these days.
On the other side, versatile sophomore man Mike Onwenu sees considerable playing time on left guard – a departure from his almost exclusive right guard and right tackle missions as a 2020 rookie. Former first round draft pick Isaiah Wynn finds himself where he always does, on the left tackle, after the team exercised the fifth-year option in their contract (for the 2022 season) earlier this calendar year.
Beyond those five, there’s a bit of intrigue regarding the remaining spots on the active roster, including how many New England will choose to keep. Typically, eight O linemen are on the 53-player roster, which would leave seven players vying for just three jobs.
Based on the work he has done at camp and the preseason, it’s probably safe to assume that Ted karras has again earned its place. Karras spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the Patriots after they picked him in the 2016 Draft. He then took a sabbatical last year with the Dolphins in Miami, but re-signed with New England as a free agent in the last offseason. Not only is Karras a reliable guard or center insurance policy, he’s one of the more experienced players in this attack, beyond Andrews and Mason.
As a rookie pick in the 2020 draft, Justin herron saw action in a variety of roles, both as a beginner and off the bench. When Wynn went to IR at the end of last season, Herron started on left tackle for the team’s last three games. Notably, however, when Wynn had to prematurely quit today’s first joint practice session with the New York Giants, Yodny Cajuste stepped into the left tackle role for the remainder of the 11-on-11 spells. Cajuste, a 2019 draft pick, had failed to overcome injuries in his first two seasons here at Foxborough. Yet this summer he has been there every day and regularly sees his opportunities increase.
It’s also worth mentioning that, with New England’s tight position having suffered a hit with injuries lately, Herron has often played the qualifying jumbo tight end / tackle role last season, and we’ve seen him s ‘line up there several times in the second preseason game. in Philadelphia last week. It would be hard to imagine that Herron would no longer play a role on the team this year.
Veteran Korey cunningham has also been a regular at this O-line rotation, mostly from a tackle position, while the plug-and-play Jacques Ferentz, like Karras, can occupy either indoor slot, and has done so on a number of occasions over the past few seasons, especially in emergency situations. If none of them are on the active roster, there could be room on the practice squad, where the extended 2020 rules remain in place for longtime veterans like them. New England often has two or more offensive linemen. With the roster’s final cups coming next Tuesday, the NFL veteran Alex Redmond, a late addition to the Patriots this offseason, and 2021 draft pick Will sherman could be considerations for this capability.
Another newcomer 2021, Marcus martin, had had a fair number of early and mid-camp opportunities, but recently landed on the New England injured reserve roster and is no longer an option this season. Neither RJ Prince, who was released yesterday.