The New England Patriots’ offensive line struggled with personnel consistency over the last few weeks, ever since center David Andrews had to be placed on injured reserve ahead of Week 3 because of a broken thumb. Since then, and in light of right guard Shaq Mason and backup center James Ferentz both being placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 list, the team had to go through numerous lineup changes in search of some stability.
It did not find it, however, with Sunday’s loss against the Denver Broncos the unit’s low point thus far. Only one player from the Week 1 starting lineup played in his original spot — right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor — and when he went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter additional moves had to be made to make up for the latest loss. Along the way and with an unfamiliar assortment of players on the field, the line struggled.
While Andrews and Mason returning to practice should help stabilize the line, Eluemunor will be out for at least three weeks: the 25-year-old was moved to injured reserve on Wednesday and his timeline is uncertain after he was unable to finish the game versus Denver after hurting his ankle. That said, it seems as if he could very well return later during the season to possibly fill the right tackle spot again.
After all, Eluemunor took to social media shortly after the news broke to share the following message:
I won’t miss THAT Game...Bet on it— Jermaine Eluemunor (@TheMainShow_) October 21, 2020
I won’t miss THAT Game...Bet on it
While trying to read too much into social media posts can be a dangerous practice, Eluemunor’s post hints at a return before a game that has some importance to him. Which game could that be, though? One clearly stands out when looking at the Patriots’ schedule and his history in the NFL: Week 10’s contest against the Baltimore Ravens on November 15.
Eluemunor and the Ravens have some history together, after all. The team selected him in the fifth of the 2017 draft, and he went on to appear in 17 regular season games and a playoff contest over the next two seasons. Along the way, he also started three games — two at right guard in 2017, and one at left tackle in 2018. Eluemunor had an encouraging start to his career but never established himself as a key member of Baltimore’s O-line.
Eventually, he was traded to New England ahead of his third year with the club. Eluemunor served as a versatile backup for the Patriots in 2019 before taking over the starting right tackle spot that was vacated when Marcus Cannon opted out of the season.
As can be seen, therefore, Eluemunor’s “that game” could very well be the one against Baltimore. And it would make sense from a timeline perspective as well: depending on the severity of his injury he could be ready to go again in Week 10, and he would be eligible to come off injured reserve that week as well.
While his injury did appear to be rather serious when it happened, it looks like Eluemunor could make a comeback sooner rather than later.