The New England Patriots’ offensive line was dealt another major blow Tuesday.
The team announced starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn has been placed on injured reserve. Offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch will fill his spot on the 53-man roster after signing with the team Tuesday morning.
Wynn, who was off to a strong start this season after missing his entire rookie year with a torn Achilles, left Sunday’s 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins with what the team called a foot injury. Multiple reports Monday indicated the injury actually was to Wynn’s toe.
Per NFL rules, players placed on IR during the season are eligible to begin practicing after six games and play after eight, meaning Wynn could return to game action Nov. 17 against the Philadelphia Eagles if healthy.
The Patriots already have been playing without starting center David Andrews, who will miss all of this season as he recovers from blood clots.
Against Miami, New England shifted newly acquired journeyman Marshall Newhouse to left tackle following Wynn’s exit. Newhouse had started the game at right tackle in place of Marcus Cannon, who sat out after testing his injured shoulder in pregame warmups. Cannon’s injury is not considered serious.
Second-year pro Korey Cunningham slotted in at right tackle when Newhouse switched sides. He started six games at left tackle for the Arizona Cardinals last season but worked mostly on the right side during the preseason before being traded to New England. It was the first appearance in a Patriots uniform for either player.
Newhouse, who signed with the team last Wednesday and has started games for six NFL teams, admitted the mid-game position switch was “very difficult” for him. The 31-year-old allowed one sack and one QB hit and was flagged twice for holding. Cunningham allowed two hurries, according to Pro Football Focus.
Benenoch started all 16 games at right guard for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season but has NFL experience at tackle, as well, though mostly on the right side. The Patriots also could consider moving Joe Thuney from left guard to left tackle, where he practiced early in training camp while Wynn recovered from his Achilles injury.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he was encouraged by the way Newhouse and Cunningham performed against Miami.
“In terms of learning and all that, Marshall has a lot of league experience and experience recently in a similar system to what we run (in Buffalo under former Patriots assistant Brian Daboll),” Belichick said in a conference call Monday. “Korey has less league experience and certainly much less experience in our system or a system similar to ours. But I thought they both hung in there.
“Certainly, there’s a lot of things we need to work on, on a lot of levels offensively, but certainly at the tackle position just from an experience standpoint. Just literally a few days of practice, and that’ll be a challenge for them, but I thought they held up physically fairly well in, I’d say, pretty tough conditions, and we played quite a bit of football offensively. … Minimal number of major errors and penalties and things like that. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but no real disasters, so hopefully we can build on last week.”
The Patriots will host the division rival New York Jets this Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images