The New England Patriots will kick off their regular season against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon, and they are entering the game with plenty of questions on both sides of the ball. The biggest among them, at least according to SB Nation’s latest Reacts survey, is the state of the offensive line.
The unit underwent some drastic changes this offseason. Of the five starting positions, only one remains occupied by the same player as last year: team captain David Andrews is still manning the center spot; all the others have seen some change since 2021.
Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn switched positions, with the former now at left tackle and the latter on the right side. Meanwhile, starting guards Ted Karras and Shaq Mason departed via free agency and trade, respectively; they have been replaced by first-round rookie Cole Strange and third-year man Michael Onwenu.
Additionally, the Patriots also lost offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo to the Las Vegas Raiders. Matt Patricia, who will likely also be responsible for calling plays on the offensive side of the ball, has been tasked with replacing him — and with installing some more zone-blocking concepts compared to the previous seasons.
As a result of those changes, the unit has had a rough time this summer. Two areas in particular stood out: the blocking on outside zone was not as efficient as one would hope, while the pass protection also saw frequent breakdowns.
It is therefore no surprise that 63 percent of fans participating in the survey picked the O-line as the biggest worry heading into Week 1. For comparison, the offensive play calling situation and lack of a true CB1 against a talented Miami receiving corps received only 20 and 14 percent of the vote, respectively:
The other questions asked as part of this week’s survey saw fans vote on the team’s short- and longer-term outlook.
51 percent of participants think that the Patriots will win in Miami on Sunday, despite the club’s recent struggles in South Florida: only three of the last 10 road games versus the Dolphins were won.
Meanwhile, 57 percent of Patriots fans are confident that the team is headed in the right direction. Only half of them, however, believe that it will ultimately be able to reach the playoffs.
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