The Patriots’ line requires improvement in week two of training camp. So here’s an offensive line breakdown for the week of camp.
The Patriots’ offensive line gave up at least a dozen sack plays during the first week of training camp, and after the first two days with pads, they tied the first week of camp. Not something anyone wants to see from their unit, and it’s not going to get better. I could spoil it by telling you why here, but I’ll get to it later on.
Patriots Camp Attendance & Injuries For Week Two
Although Hines was spotted Friday, rookie linemen Chasen Hines and Andrew Stueber were still on the Non-football injury list. This is an alarming trend for the two rookies. Maybe they have already been told they’re being redshirted.
Also, linebacker Jahlani Tavai suffered what appeared to be a nasty leg injury on August Fourth and was seen on Friday in a leg compressor. Belichick recently said he had plans for Tavai this season. This was the first serious injury of camp reported.
Monday, Day Five.
Sacks are based on the opinion of those watching since there is no tackling. So this is the one area where flags would make sense on the quarterback. And would be an excellent improvement to training camp by ending plays that the defense has to quit on due to no contact rules.
Mack Wilson, and LaBrian Ray each with a sack, while Barmore, Godchaux, and Ekuale all reportedly got pressure. It’s been a free pass for the defense so far during training camp. After averaging three sacks a day last week, this was an improvement.
The left tackle position may not be settled. Wynn is in a contract year. Perhaps being moved to the right tackle was a wake-up call for him from Belichick and Patricia. The left tackle should be mentioned daily if a battle is going on.
Brown returned in 2021 to New England as one of the top tackles in the league but hasn’t played up to expectations. So the Patriots brought him back on an incentive-laden contract this spring.
Wynn was a first round draft pick expected to be the Patriots’ blindside protector for years. He has also failed to live up to expectations, but the team picked up his fifth-year option for the 2022 season.
Henry McKenna wrote, “Perhaps there’s a real battle between tackles Isaiah Wynn and Trent Brown on the left side. Brown has been running laps for mental gaffes, and Wynn was more fiesty and impressive during Monday’s session.” https://patriotswire.usatoday.com/lists/patriots-training-camp-instant-takeaways-day-5-analysis/
Trent Brown got the better of Uche, but the line couldn’t stop Barmore as he got bye first round pick Cole Strange, Drew Desjarlais, and Kody Russey. And Andrews appeared to struggle against Godchaux. Wynn, Ferentz, and Russey all had to run laps. It’s too early to figure out if it’s the line as a whole or individual lousy play.
Mike Debate wrote, “The Pats offensive line continued its work on some of the new, zone-based run concepts, contributing several stuffs during team drills.” https://www.si.com/nfl/patriots/news/new-england-pads-practice-training-camp-mac-jones-devante-parker-terrance-mitchell-noteb
The Patriots should have a four headed Hydra in the backfield with the backs they have. However, the run game wasn’t looking so good. The Patriots’ offense is still built around the run game.
John Zannis wrote, In 11 on 11 “backs were stuffed at the line for zero to little gain 5 or 6 times.” https://www.clnsmedia.com/patriots-put-on-pads-for-day-5-of-training-camp/
Andrew Callahan wrote, “This was bad. Bad, bad. The offensive line yielded regular penetration, and the outside zone handoffs mostly went nowhere. Lots to fix.” https://www.bostonherald.com/2022/08/01/patriots-training-camp-day-6-new-run-game-stalls-malcolm-butler-rides-coverage-roller
Wynn was questioned about the position change. When pushed, he responded and when the press didn’t like his answer, he gave a blunt Belichick-type answer.
Wynn said, “It ain’t got nothin’ to do with me. I’m wherever they need me to be.” “I’m wherever they need me to be.” “I’m wherever they need me to be.” “Yeah, but, you know, it’s my answer. So, you’ve got to take it, you know? Got you.” https://www.patspulpit.com/2022/8/2/23288413/takeaways-patriots-training-camp-monday-day-5
Tuesday, Day Six.
Brown was okay, nothing special. He had some good plays against Uche, Judon, and Anderson, but the defense continued to dominate the offensive line, getting to the ball carriers and quarterbacks. Uche made Wynn look foolish and Wynn got nailed for a false start, no word on what side of the line that occurred.
Judon and Barmore are the team’s best pass rushers, Barmore and Godchaux are pocket disruptive, and all three require double teaming. If the Patriots send six into the backfield, it’s highly likely the play will end in a negative unless the Patriots line is on, and that’s why we see the issues so far. The line is not a machine yet, in fact they’re not even worthy of being called a line at this point.
Sacks surrendered: Ronnie Perkins had a pair, while Judon, Wilson, Guy, Barmore, Uche, Bentley, Ray and Roberts had a sack. The defense was getting pressure apparently unchallenged most of the day, giving up a minimum of ten sacks. The Patriots also allowed seven defenders in the backfield on run plays.
Henry McKenna wrote, “Right now, it’s left tackle Trent Brown, left guard Cole Strange, center David Andrews, right guard Michael Onwenu and right tackle Isaiah Wynn. There was not a lot of protection for Jones.” https://patriotswire.usatoday.com/lists/patriots-training-camp-takeaways-day-6-practice/
Hambright, Cajuste, and Herron were said to look decent, but they’re all second-teamers. All three are competing for a depth role on the roster. However, nothing positive can be said about the day’s rest of the line depth.
Ethan Hurwitz wrote, “For the sixth straight practice, the defensive unit has had their way with the offense, being able to stuff the run, get after the quarterback and knock away a number of passes.” https://www.si.com/nfl/patriots/news/new-england-training-camp-christian-barmore-tyquan-thornton-jahlani-tavai-studs-duds
Fans were upset with the Boston media for critiquing the offense after six days of practice, but it’s their job to report flaws, so fans aren’t shocked when the team struggles. After hearing how non-padded days don’t count, the team gave up at least 12 sacks after two days with pads. The line is not on the same page and it’s dragging down the offense.
Wednesday, Day Seven
At least four more sacks surrendered and a lot of pressure in a slower padless day. The defense continued dominating the line in both the run and passing. Wednesday was about cleaning things up on offense but at half speed, the only time the offense truly looked competent was when the line wasn’t involved.
Arlington Hambright took reps at both right and left guard. Unfortunately, him and Herron also ran laps for false start penalties. James Ferentz and Kody Russey played center as Andrews mainly watched. No word on the tackles.
Henry McKenna wrote, “If the Patriots offense is great in 7-on-7s (which don’t include offensive line) and during unpadded practices, then (as I’ve mentioned) they’re at their best when they’re not managing New England’s pass-rush. That’s not a good sign for the team’s offensive line, which is under the supervision of Patricia. For now, the defensive line looks a large step ahead of the offensive line. That’s a situation Patricia needs to amend.” https://patriotswire.usatoday.com/lists/patriots-training-camp-instant-takeaways-from-day-7/
Andrew Callahan wrote, “The run game remains problematic. The Patriots drilled outside zone over and over again, a clear admission their recent execution was as poor as it’s been reported early in camp. Their first outside zone run against the starting defense Wednesday got stuffed.” https://www.bostonherald.com/2022/08/03/patriots-training-camp-day-8-mac-jones-rebounds-over-slow-practice-hybrid-rb-wr-rising/
Thursday, Day Eight
Ferentz and Hambright worked with the starting line. Cajuste, Durant, Onwenu, and Ferentz reportedly had terrible days, but Herron and Andrews appeared to bounce back. Strange started bad but improved after a talk with Billy Yates. However, the unit is still having issues blocking in both games, allowing at least three more sacks and continuing to hinder the offensive development.
Wynn continues to be Brown’s backup at left tackle while starting at the right. At this point, if there’s a position battle between the two, it’s in the manner Newton and Jones battled in 2021. There’s nothing obvious stating there’s a battle for left tackle, and Wynn is just being kept on standby.
Trent Brown told the Boston Herald, “I still feel like I’m the best tackle to play this game, and I feel like I can be one of the best to ever play. I’m out to prove it. So here we go. Day by day. Brick by brick.” Brown also spoke for the line concerning their camp struggles, “We’re not going to get our heads down. We’re not going to ride an emotional roller coaster,” he said. “We’re going to stay even-keeled and put in the work.” https://www.bostonherald.com/2022/08/04/patriots-tackle-trent-brown-out-to-prove-hes-the-best-bar-none/
Friday, Day Nine
Herron was sent to the locker room with Uche over a scuffle. Onwenu got pulled for Ferentz. Not the first time someone has filled in at guard. The right side (Onwenu-Wynn) is struggling this camp worse than the left. And multiple people have been put in at right guard.
Evan Lazar wrote, “Appears to be an open competition is at right guard.” https://www.patriots.com/news/patriots-hold-in-stadium-practice-with-a-different-twist
Blocking was still an issue as the defense continued to cause havoc at the line and in the backfield. At least one sack surrendered to McGrone, and several media members said not to count tonight’s stats. So it’s only logical to assume that a few more sacks were surrendered under the Friday night lights.
Patriots’ O-Line Is A Cause For Concern And Could Be Inflating Defensive Production.
The Patriots linemen have allowed at least 32 sacks and have struggled to stop the defense from holding or getting penetration majority of camp. According to Greg Bedard, whether it’s from the installation of a new offense, coaching, or players not being ready, the offensive line is a weak spot, especially on the edge. He also questioned if the team has the personnel for the old Denver offense.
I could be wrong and the Patriots could have a good line that’s just been decimated by an even better front seven. Although improbable, I guess it’s not impossible. For the optimistic fans, we’ll have to see how they look in their first upcoming preseason game.
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