Despite being 8-0, the New England Patriots have struggled with inconsistency over the last few weeks when on offense — an issue that the team addressed last week when trading a second-round draft pick to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for Mohamed Sanu. The veteran wide receiver will not remain the only reinforcements to come the unit’s way, however, as two players are expected to return off injured reserve.
One, first-round rookie wideout N’Keal Harry, was already designated to fill the first of two available IR-return spots and will likely be activated to the 53-man roster ahead of Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. The second player who is expected to be reactivated off the list is now eligible to start practicing again: starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who was placed on injured reserve exactly six weeks ago today.
“I think he’s eligible. It’s a possibility. We’ll see how it goes,” said head coach Bill Belichick when addressing the topic during a conference call on Monday. Wynn, one of the Patriots’ first-round draft picks in 2018, took over as the team’s left tackle this offseason and looked good while starting the first two games of the regular season. However, the 23-year-old injured his toe in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins and has been out ever since.
Now, Wynn is allowed to start practicing even though he cannot return to the active 53-man roster (and game action) until after Week 11. Once he is back at practice, he takes the second of the two available IR-return spots while a 21-day window opens during which he either has to join the active team or return to injured reserve for the rest of the season. New England does not have to bring him back to practice right away, however, and could in theory wait.
Either way, the expectation is that the second-year man will be back on the practice fields sooner rather than later — and that he will offer a boost to a position group that has had its fair share of ups and downs with backup Marshall Newhouse starting in Wynn’s place.