3 offensive MVPs for the Patriots after three-quarters of the season

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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 20: Rex Burkhead #34 of the New England Patriots celebrates with Joe Thuney #62 after scoring the game-winning touchdown to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime during the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 20, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Patriots defeated the Chiefs 37-31. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

3. Joe Thuney

It’s possible that left guard Joe Thuney is the most underrated player on this current New England Patriots roster.

A third-round draft pick out of NC State back in 2016, Thuney impressed teammates and coaches throughout the summer as a rookie before eventually winning the starting left guard spot outright over his competition. Since then, he has been a model of consistency in the NFL – Thuney has played in every single game since he first came into the league.

That means he played in all 16 regular seasons game thrice over (2016, 2017, 2018), as well as nine postseason games (including three Super Bowl appearances). This season he’s been just as much an iron-man, playing in all 12 games for the Patriots so far.

Remarkably, in the 60 career regular season games that Thuney has now participated in, he has also played 100% of the offensive snaps in 54 of them. This is a prototypical offensive lineman in the NFL we’re talking about here, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound, blue-collar-type player who quietly goes about his business each and every season while setting an example for his younger teammates.

Thuney isn’t just extremely durable and consistent though – he’s also one heck of a football player. ProFootballFocus has him ranked as one of the more elite guards in the NFL today, and they also listed him alongside teammate Shaq Mason as the best guard tandem in the league during the offseason. He’s allowed just one sack this season, and he has yet to be flagged for any penalties.

Especially considering all the turnover and injury/illness issues this offensive line has had this year, it really adds an extra spotlight on the exemplary work that Thuney has been putting in since June. If the rest of the line can get anywhere close to his level of play during the final stretch of the season, the Patriots offense might find themselves after all before it’s too late.

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