New England Patriots versatile edge-rushing linebacker Chase Winovich underwent sports hernia surgery in February but is ready for the season.
Winovich — who was selected 77th overall in the third round — proved to be a rather successful situational role player for New England last year.
The versatile Michigan product played 291 defensive snaps (29 percent) and 256 special teams plays, which was good for the fourth-highest on the team. He finished his rookie season with 26 tackles, 5.5 sacks (tied for fourth on team), 10 quarterback hits (third on team), one fumble recovery, and returned one blocked punt for a touchdown.
It was recently reported by the Boston Globe that Winovich underwent sports hernia surgery shortly after the season in February — which he has spent a majority of the offseason recovering from.
With that being said, Winovich seems to have bounced back to his normal, energetic, and high-on-life personality. That’s good, because he’s going to be needed this season on the Patriots defense — and not to mention in the locker room, as well.
Winovich is considered to be one of the best defensive rookies in the Bill Belichick coaching era.
According to NBC’s Boston Sports Info, Winovich is only the second Patriots rookie under Belichick to reach at least 5.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hits, with the other player being Chandler Jones in 2012 (6 sacks, 12 QB hits).
Winovich is going to be important to the defense this season, as he understands that his versatility allows him to move around and play multiple positions and roles. He knows he’s going to be a necessary asset for the team this season, and because of that, he gave the same advice to his former Wolverine teammate Josh Uche, who he will reunite with in New England:
"“Just be a sponge. Don’t waste this opportunity that you’re given, because it’s definitely not a redshirt year by any means.”"
In preparation for the regular season, Winovich — like all of us right now — has been doing a lot of home workout weight training and yoga with his new workout partner, the Patriots’ presumed starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
"“I think he’s awesome. And he’s a great quarterback. He’s very consistent. He’s always got the same even-keel kind of attitude. I have a blast working out with him.”"
The New England Patriots have a new and improved linebacker group this season that will feature a fresh supporting cast around Dont’a Hightower, including rookies Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings. Shilique Calhoun, Ja’Whaun Bentley, and Winovich are all going to see an increased workload as well this season.
For your viewing pleasure and as a nice little send-off, here is a clip of Winovich and Uche coming in hot from the edge for a shared sack while playing together at Michigan:
Heading into his second season in New England, Winovich has a strong opportunity to become a key player for the defense this year.