Patriots Inactives Reaction: Is Position Change Coming For Mike Onwenu?

Plus: An important development at cornerback for New England


October 17, 2021

FOXBORO, Mass. — Two of the offensive line starters who missed last week’s New England Patriots game are back in the lineup Sunday.

Left tackle Isaiah Wynn and left guard Mike Onwenu both will dress against the Dallas Cowboys after being removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

Onwenu, who was a full participant in the final two practices this week, is expected to play against Dallas. Wynn’s status is less clear, as he missed two full weeks of practice before his recent activation. He could be an emergency backup if the Patriots do not feel comfortable starting him after such a long layoff.

If Wynn is used in a reserve role, Justin Herron would be the most likely candidate to start at left tackle. He did so in last week’s win over the Houston Texans, with Yodny Cajuste starting on the right side in place of Trent Brown (injured reserve).

Cajuste might not remain in that spot, however, as pregame warmups suggested a potential position change for Onwenu. During non-padded positional work, the second-year pro took reps at right tackle alongside Ted Karras, who is expected to start at right guard in place of the injured Shaq Mason (ruled out with an abdomen injury). Onwenu excelled at right tackle as a rookie but has played exclusively at guard this season.

The Patriots elevated guard/center James Ferentz from the practice squad Saturday for additional O-line depth.

UPDATE (3:55 p.m. ET): The Patriots’ top O-line in full-team warmups featured neither Wynn nor Onwenu. It was the same as last week’s starting unit (from left): Herron, Ferentz, David Andrews, Karras and Cajuste. Wynn and Onwenu subbed in. It appears both will be depth options Sunday.

Here is the Patriots’ full inactive list for Sunday:

CB Joejuan Williams
RB J.J. Taylor
G Shaq Mason
CB Shaun Wade
OLB Ronnie Perkins
TE Devin Asiasi

Some observations:

— Starting cornerback Jalen Mills is active. That’s big for the Patriots’ secondary, which surrendered several big plays last week with Mills sidelined. Williams, who started in place of Mills against the Texans and later was benched, sits out as a healthy scratch for the second time in three weeks.

— The Patriots again will go with Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson and Brandon Bolden at running back. Harris is up after a shot to the ribs knocked out of last week’s game. We’ll see if New England looks to limit his workload Sunday. Harris leads all Patriots rushers with 230 yards this season. No teammate has more than 38 rushing yards through five games.

Taylor is inactive for the second straight game. A healthy scratch against Houston, he was added to the injury report (groin) on Friday.

— Wade, Perkins and Asiasi have yet to suit up for a game this season. Wade is dealing with a concussion that’s sidelined him for the last week-plus.

— The notable Cowboys starters who were listed as questionable (running back Ezekiel Elliott, cornerback Trevon Diggs and left tackle Tyron Smith) all are active, as expected.

Kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images
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