The New England Patriots had better hope Trent Brown is healthy enough to return in Week 3. Because his replacement was not up to the task Sunday.
Starting at right tackle for the first time in his NFL career, Yasir Durant surrendered three first-half sacks against the New York Jets before being benched late in the second quarter.
The Patriots acquired Durant from the Kansas City Chiefs after the preseason. He started one game — at right guard — for Kansas City as an undrafted rookie last season.
After Durant allowed his third sack — to Sheldon Rankins on third-and-19 — New England sat him down and inserted second-year pro Justin Herron. Herron entered the season as the Patriots’ third tackle and was Brown’s initial replacement when the latter went down with a calf injury in Week 1. He struggled in that loss to the Miami Dolphins, though, and was benched for Durant.
On the Patriots’ final offensive play of the first half Sunday, Herron suffered an injury of his own. New England can either reinsert Durant after halftime or turn to backup Yodny Cajuste, a 2019 third-round draft pick who is active for the first time in his NFL career.
The Patriots also could move 2020 rookie standout Mike Onwenu from left guard to right tackle, where he started 10 games and played at a high level a year ago. Onwenu has worked almost exclusively at guard since the start of training camp, however, with the Patriots tabbing him as their replacement for departed free agent Joe Thuney.
UPDATE: Herron returned to the field for the start of the second half.
A 7-yard touchdown from James White and two Nick Folk field goals gave the Patriots a 13-3 lead at the half.