Though the New England Patriots are 6-0 to start the season, the offense is struggling… and the problem seems to start with the offensive line.
Many people doubt the offense of the New England Patriots in regards to how well they match up against some of the other top offenses in the NFL. The Patriots offense hasn’t looked pretty by any means this season, but the team is still 6-0, right?
Currently, the Pats are throwing for 248.8 yards per game and rushing for 101.5 yards per game. Last season, it was the defense that got hit with injuries. Now this season, it seems like it’s the offense that is getting hit rather hard with the injury bug.
The offensive line took a hit before Week 1 of the regular season even began. Starting center David Andrews was put on IR due to the discovery of a blood clot in his lungs.
The loss of Andrews in the middle of the offensive front is one of the major contributing reasons to the loss of offensive production through six games this season. Since his rookie season in 2015, Andrews has been the starting center for the Patriots – something Tom Brady values very much. Andrews has started in 57 of 60 games for the New England Patriots during his career.
Isaiah Wynn was also placed on IR after just one game this season. The second-year tackle spent his rookie season on IR after tearing his Achilles during the preseason. The Pats drafted Wynn in the first round of last year’s draft in hopes that he would make an immediate impact for the offense; the expectation was that he would be the team’s starting left tackle, one of the most important positions on the offense.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, they have yet to reap any real benefit from Isaiah Wynn. But Tom Brady is still hopeful that Wynn will return this season. Here’s what he said to Jim Gray during his weekly interview on Monday Night Football, via NESN’s Zack Cox:
"“We have one [player] that we’re hoping can return from injury: Isaiah Wynn, who was our left tackle to start the year. He’s working hard and progressing, and any time you get players back, it not only improves the depth of the team, but you feel some youthful exuberance as well. So any time you get players back from injury, I think it’s a benefit to the team.”"
The lack of production from the tight end position is also impacting everything wrong with the offense. Over the last nine years, Rob Gronkowski developed into an excellent blocking tight end. The team currently doesn’t have that extra support at the end of the line anymore, with Matt LaCosse injured and Ryan Izzo still learning the game. On the bright side, Ben Watson and Eric Tomlinson were both signed to the team this week.
These key losses to the offensive line have negatively impacted the Patriots’ ability to run the ball. When a football team becomes one-dimensional, they become very predictable; and that’s what has happened to the Patriots offense so far this season. Marshall Newhouse and Ted Karras are improving, but they are getting blown-up entirely too often for Tom Brady to handle. It frustrates Brady to no end when he doesn’t even have the chance to make a play.
The Patriots cannot rely on the defense for the entire season; at some point the offense needs to hold up their end of the bargain and score some points. Honestly, it all starts with the O-line. If Isaiah Wynn can return after New England’s Week 10 bye, the running game should improve, which will create a more balanced offense.
Longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia will shape this line into a championship unit in time; even Brady seems to have all the faith in “Coach Scar” doing just that as well. With the trading deadline coming up, it’ll still be interesting to see if the Patriots will do anything to address their lack of offensive production.