Chase Winovich played 37 defensive snaps in the New England Patriots’ Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. In the three games since, he’s played a total of 40.
Winovich’s puzzling lack of playing time has been a topic of discussion of late, especially after the second-year edge rusher logged a career-low five defensive snaps (8.6 percent) in Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
In meetings with the media this week, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick both addressed Winovich’s diminished role.
“It?s just been situational,” Bill Belichick said Monday in a video conference. “He?ll play. He?s a good player. He?ll play. … It?s just some weekly decisions based on game plans and so forth.”
Belichick again was asked about Winovich during his weekly Monday appearance on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria.”
“There?s no issues with Chase,” the head coach said. “Chase is a good player, and he?ll play. Some of it is scheme-related and situation-related. But Chase is a good player, and I?m sure he?ll play.”
The Patriots have faced an NFL-high 122 rushing attempts over the last three games and allowed 522 rushing yards, third-most in the league.
An every-down player for the first four weeks of the season — and one of New England’s top defensive performers during that span — Winovich recently has been used mostly in passing situations. Against Buffalo, he played only on third down, with practice squad call-up Tashawn Bower checking in when the Patriots utilized two stand-up outside ‘backers on early downs.
?Chase is doing a good job,” Steve Belichick said Tuesday. “He continues to improve. He?s a young player that has a lot of good skills. We?ve just got to do the right thing for the team and for the game plan, which applies to all the players on the roster and getting them in the spots we want to succeed.”
Steve Belichick said Winovich is “definitely not” making any mistakes that are keeping him off the field. The 2019 third-round draft pick leads all Patriots defenders in both sacks and quarterback hits this season despite not tallying one of either since Week 4.
“Chase is willing to do anything we ask of him,” Steve Belichick said. “He?s all about the team. He?s a very unselfish guy. He hasn?t done anything wrong.”