Bill Belichick Keeping Expectations Straightforward For Chase Winovich In Return From PUP

Winovich was activated from the PUP list Sunday


August 17, 2021

Where exactly Chase Winovich fits within the New England Patriots’ revamped front seven remains to be seen, but he now is getting the opportunity to prove, if nothing else, that he belongs.

The third-year linebacker began the preseason on the active/physically unable to perform (PUP) list but made his return to practice Sunday on Day 13 of training camp. It was an important step for Winovich, who had been limited to just conditioning work in the early days of camp.

Winovich saw his snap counts become sporadic last season as he seemed to fall out of favor. The Patriots then revamped their linebacking group with the additions of Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy, plus the return of 2020 opt-out Dont’a Hightower, leaving Winovich in a tough battle for playing time.

For head coach Bill Belichick, the expectations right now are simple.

“Right now, Chase needs to just get his reps on the field,” Belichick told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s joint practice with the Philadelphia Eagles. “Obviously, he needs to work in every area because he hasn’t done much.”

Winovich is listed on the Patriots’ unofficial depth chart as the second-string right defensive end, behind another offseason acquisition, Henry Anderson. However, New England has so much versatility up front that nothing really is set in stone there.

At his best, the 26-year-old is an effective edge rusher who can wreak havoc in the backfield, particularly on passing downs. But too often last season he was invisible, hence the fluctuating snap counts.

There’s upside in Winovich, and now he’s getting the chance to prove it in a pivotal few weeks for him.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images
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