The New England Patriots currently have 90 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on September 1 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the offseason, we take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Today, the series continues with a depth player along the offensive line.
Name: Brian Schwenke
Position: Offensive guard
Jersey number: 63
Opening day age: 27
Size: 6’3, 320 lbs.
2017 review: After spending the first four years of his career with the Tennessee Titans, Brian Schwenke left the team during 2017’s free agency to sign with their AFC South rivals from Indianapolis. However, the former third-round draft selection did not find any success with the Colts and as a result saw his tenure end rather quickly: Schwenke was let go during September’s roster cutdowns. One day later, he was back in Tennessee.
Playing on a one-year, $775,000 contract, Schwenke again filled a similar role to the one he held during his first stint with the club: he served as a depth option along the interior offensive line, seeing irregular playing time. All in all, the Cal product appeared in all 16 of the Titans’ regular season games and both their playoff contests. However, he only saw time on offense in five of the games – playing a combined 148 of a possible 1,158 snaps (12.8%).
Schwenke actually received more regular opportunities on special teams. He was used as a blocker on field goal and extra point attempts in all 18 games and played a combined 82 of Tennessee’s 527 kicking game snaps (15.6%). His overall season, however, can still be seen as a continuation of his first four in the NFL: Schwenke was little more than a depth player on offense while his special teams play did also not stand out in any way.
2018 preview: Following the Titans’ 2017 season, the veteran again entered unrestricted free agency. It was a slower experience for Schwenke this time around, as he generated little interest on the open market. As a result, the Patriots were able to bring him on board last week after waiving tight end Shane Wimann. Ultimately, however, his stint in New England is expected to be a rather short one.
Not only was Schwenke thrown in at the deep end by joining the team in late July – when training camp had already started –, he also faces plenty of competition for one of the projected backup spots along the interior offensive line: first-round rookie and roster lock Isaiah Wynn has proven ability as a guard, while Ted Karras, James Ferentz, Jason King, and Cole Croston all bring more experience in New England’s system to the table.
While Schwenke is the most experienced player of the bunch overall and is no stranger to playing on special teams as well, he still appears to be a longshot when all factors are put into account. Therefore, he most likely will get the axe on September 1 – but could become an option as an emergency call-up if there is the need for one (and he remains unsigned).