The New England Patriots, who are currently in their middle of their 2019 training camp, have 90 players on their active roster at the moment. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on August 31 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the summer, we will take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots defend their Super Bowl title.
Today, the series continues with one of New England’s team captains.
Name: David Andrews
Jersey number: 60
Opening day age: 27
Size: 6’3, 300 lbs.
2018 review: Make no mistake about it: David Andrews is one of the best and most consistent players on the Patriots’ roster, and the leader of the team’s offensive line. As such, he played an integral role in New England’s offensive success in 2018 and earned his second Super Bowl ring in three years as the starting center. By all accounts, last season can therefore be classified as ‘business as usual’ for the former undrafted rookie free agent.
All in all, Andrews was once again a reliable presence at the heart of the Patriots’ offense: he appeared in all sixteen of the club’s regular season games and was on the field for a combined 1,103 of a possible 1,119 snaps (98.6%) — the second most on the team behind only left guard Joe Thuney. During New England’s three playoff games, he did not leave the field even once and was present for all 252 offensive snaps.
On all but one of his snaps — in week ten against the Tennessee Titans he made a temporary switch to left guard — he lined up as the center and was also responsible for making blocking-calls. Andrews was not only an important part of the operation in terms of playing time, though, but he also was a steady presence from a performance perspective. He once again showed why he is one of the best centers in the entire NFL.
Being able to continue the success he has had over the first two years as New England’s starter, the Georgia product continued to shine especially as a pass protector. On the year, Andrews surrendered only a single quarterback sack as well as four hits and four hurries. His nine combined pressures were the best of the Patriots’ starting offensive linemen, and made him one of the top pass protectors in the league in 2018.
On top of it all, Andrews also continued to be productive as a run blocker, something that was a comparative weak-point of his game upon entering the NFL. He remained consistent in applying his technique and displayed solid core strength when going up against bigger defensive linemen. With him at the center position, the Patriots were therefore able to consistently challenge teams on the ground — never more so than during the playoffs.
Like the rest of the offensive line, Andrews was at his best during the tournament. He surrendered only two quarterback disruptions (one hit, one hurry) and helped New England gain 485 rushing yards and score 9 touchdowns on the ground. To cap his season, he played a key role in neutralizing standout defensive tackle and NFL defensive player of the year Aaron Donald in the Super Bowl against the Los Angeles Rams.
2019 preview: Two days into the Patriots’ training camp, Andrews is nowhere to be found despite not being place on one of the injury reserve lists. That being said, the 27-year-old will return to the field at one point — and when he does, he will fill his usual role as the Patriots’ starting center. The veteran, who hits New England’s salary cap with a relatively modest $3.5 million, will therefore again see considerable action.
Unless injury strikes, Andrews is expected to appear in all of the team’s games again and rarely leave the field. He will play a key role in the team’s communication up front and in protecting quarterback Tom Brady, and as a very solid run blocker as well. On top of it all, Andrews will likely get voted team captain for a third year — reflecting his standing on the roster as a leader and player around which to build. And as such, the center spot will be in safe hands again in 2019.