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Change at right tackle position pays dividends for Patriots against Jets

New England inserted Vederian Lowe into its starting lineup in Week 3.

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

When the New England Patriots took the field at MetLife Stadium for warmups on Sunday, they presented a new configuration along their offensive line. Not only did left tackle Trent Brown return after a one-week absence, the team also used a new starter on the opposite end of the line: Vederian Lowe started at right tackle in place of Calvin Anderson.

The move paid dividends for the Patriots. With Lowe starting over Anderson, New England did not surrender any sacks and also managed to gain a season-high 157 rushing yards — all while going up against a talented New York Jets defensive front.

Yes, inserting Lowe into the lineup was not the only catalyst behind the O-line playing its best game of the season. It was a contributing factor, though, and a change for the better especially in pass protection.

Whereas Anderson had surrendered nine pressures including one sack over the first two games of the season, Lowe played a comparatively clean game versus New York. The entire offensive line benefitted from that, earning the 24-year-old some praise after the game.

“I think he’s done a good job for us,” center David Andrews said about Lowe. “Getting traded and started working some guard, and then left tackle last week, now right tackle this week.

“Lot of respect for what he’s come in, his work ethic. He’s had a great opportunity and I think he’s doing a really good job for us, helping us out at both positions. That’s something I’ve never done in my career, so I have a lot of respect for guys that can do that because I think that’s pretty hard.”

A sixth-round draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings a year ago, Lowe moved to New England via trade ahead of the roster cutdown deadline. An emergency option early on, he started at left tackle in place of Brown last week versus the Miami Dolphins.

The Patriots’ coaching staff apparently liked what it saw during that game and the subsequent week of work, and decided to make a switch. Anderson, who had started Weeks 1 and 2 after missing the entire summer on the non-football illness list, was sent to the bench in exchange for his recently acquired teammate.

Will Lowe be the permanent solution at right tackle the Patriots had been looking for going back to last season? Time will tell, especially with veteran Riley Reiff eligible to return off injured reserve in Week 5.

For now, however, it looks like Lowe is the best option at the position. He sure looked like it against the Jets.