The New England Patriots entered their Week 2 meeting with the Miami Dolphins already down two starting offensive linemen. Center David Andrews will miss the entire season after being diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs, while right tackle Marcus Cannon suffered a shoulder injury on opening day and was declared inactive for the game in Miami. The attrition did not stop there, however, as another starter went down early against the Dolphins.
After only one series, left tackle Isaiah Wynn headed first to the medical tent on the sidelines and later the locker room. He was announced as questionable to return by the Patriots shortly afterwards, only to be declared out at the beginning of the second half. With both starting tackles unavailable, the team had to turn to its depth options: Marshall Newhouse and Korey Cunningham played considerable snaps against the Dolphins.
While Newhouse opened the game in Cannon’s spot, he moved over to the left side upon Wynn’s departure. Cunningham, meanwhile, stepped in at right tackle. While the results were not always perfect for the two backup tackles — as had to be expected — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick seemed pleased with how the two looked given the circumstances and the difficult conditions in which they found themselves in.
“It was a real challenge there,” said Belichick after his team’s 43-0 victory over Miami when talking about the difficulties of losing another starting lineman to injury (in Wynn’s case a foot issue). However, he simultaneously also praised the depth players’ performances: “Marshall and Korey really stepped up. That’s what we have depth for; we had to use it today. Tough day out there but they battled through it.”
Belichick generally spoke positively about the depth of the Patriots’ roster. Even though he did not go into much detail — again: as had to be expected — he pointed out that all levels of depth played well against Miami: “We held up okay. I think there’s certainly room for improvement, but we competed for 60 minutes. We have good depth, and we used it a lot, especially on defense. All those guys got a decent number of snaps.”
New England rotating plenty of players in and out of the lineup also shows up on the stat sheet. Besides the backup linemen seeing a lot of action, the Patriots also had six different defenders register sacks — from Adam Butler’s two quarterback takedowns, to Chase Winovich and John Simon also getting in on the action. And while the star players will grab the headlines following the game, the rotational options also contributed enormously to the decisive victory.