The New England Patriots returned to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium today, but a total of eight players were not spotted by the reporters present for the first few minutes of the non-public session. Two of them stand out in particular given their starting roles along the team’s offensive line: center David Andrews and tackle Isaiah Wynn were absent from the start of practice for the second day in a row.
While nothing is known at this point related to their statuses, the two being out is not insignificant. After all, they do have a noticeable injury history between them: while Andrews missed all of last season after being diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs, Wynn spent his entire 2018 rookie campaign on injured reserve after tearing his Achilles tendon before also missing eight weeks in 2019 due to a toe injury suffered in September.
With Andrews and Wynn being out, New England’s offensive line depth also comes into focus yet again.
The Patriots already had to watch right tackle Marcus Cannon opt out of the 2020 season in late July, leading to Jermaine Eluemunor being inserted into the starting lineup as his replacement. Andrews and Wynn being out, meanwhile, creates practice opportunities for the team’s depth options at their respective spots: interior offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt and Tyler Gauthier as well as offensive tackles Korey Cunningham, Justin Herron and Yodny Cajuste will likely see increased reps with the starting offense now.
Andrews and Wynn are the most notable absentees, but they are not the only players not present for the start of Tuesday’s practice. According to reporters on site, running back Damien Harris is also out, as are defensive linemen Michael Barnett, Nick Thurman and Beau Allen, as well as cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Michael Jackson. Harris, like the two starting O-linemen, was also not present during the early portions of Monday’s practice.
While eight players being out is a large number particularly considering the quality of the list, speculation about the absentees is rather fruitless at the moment. We only know that the Patriots will have to release their first injury report of the season next Wednesday, while they also have to trim their roster from 80 to 53 players by Saturday, September 5 — either through releasing players or by putting them on their injured reserve list.
There were also some positive news coming out of Foxborough, however. Quarterback Cam Newton is back at practice after being an excused absence on Monday. The veteran, of course, is the frontrunner to take over the vacant starting role after seeing the vast majority of quality reps ever since the early days of training camp’s full-pads portion.