The New England Patriots are carrying an unrecognizable offensive line and a shorthanded secondary into Sunday’s matchup with the Houston Texans.
New England will be without four of its five O-line starters, with left tackle Isaiah Wynn (reserve/COVID-19 list), left guard Mike Onwenu (COVID list), right guard Shaq Mason (abdomen) and right tackle Trent Brown (calf) all unavailable. Center David Andrews is the lone starting lineman active for this Week 5 game.
The Patriots also ruled out starting cornerback Jalen Mills (hamstring) and reserve corner Shaun Wade (concussion), and made a change at running back, sitting J.J. Taylor (healthy scratch) and reinserting rookie Rhamondre Stevenson.
Here is their full inactive list for Sunday:
G Shaq Mason
CB Shaun Wade
OLB Ronnie Perkins
RB J.J. Taylor
TE Devin Asiasi
OT Trent Brown (injured reserve)
OT Isaiah Wynn (COVID list)
OL Mike Onwenu (COVID list)
— Expect Ted Karras to fill one of the vacant guard spots. The rest of New England’s patchwork O-line is difficult to predict.
The Patriots likely will start either Justin Herron or Yodny Cajuste at left tackle and Herron, Cajuste or Yasir Durant at right tackle. For the final guard spot, their top options are James Ferentz, Alex Redmond and Durant.
The Patriots elevated Ferentz, Redmond and Will Sherman from the practice squad to fill out this depleted position group. Keeping rookie quarterback Mac Jones as protected as possible will be of paramount importance in this one.
Jones has taken a beating this season, absorbing at least nine QB hits in each of his team’s three losses.
— With no Mills, Joejuan Williams likely will start at outside corner opposite J.C. Jackson one week after sitting out as a healthy scratch. Wade would have been a candidate to fill that role, but he’s also unavailable.
Rounding out the Patriots’ cornerback depth chart are slot corner Jonathan Jones, special teamer Justin Bethel and slot/safety Myles Bryant, who’s up from the practice squad. The Patriots’ depth here is perilously thin, and they now will not be getting Stephon Gilmore back in two weeks.
— Linebacker Jamie Collins is active after signing with the Patriots on Wednesday. It’s the third go-round in New England for the veteran linebacker, who most recently played for the Pats in 2019. We’ll see what Collins’ role is a Patriots linebacking corps that’s fully healthy for the first time since Week 1.
Kyle Van Noy, Ja’Whaun Bentley and Josh Uche all are active after missing games over the previous three weeks.
— Stevenson draws back into the lineup for the first time since losing a fumble and blowing a blitz pickup in Week 1. Taylor played over the fourth-round rookie in the last three games but provided minimal production, tallying just 8 yards from scrimmage on seven touches. Taylor also had a costly lost fumble in last Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden, Stevenson and fullback Jakob Johnson will make up New England’s backfield against Houston. The Patriots badly need a spark here after Tampa held them to -1 rushing yards on eight carries. The Texans’ run defense has been one of the NFL’s worst this season, but New England will be missing most of its preferred blockers.
— Asiasi is a healthy scratch for the fifth consecutive game. He has yet to play a snap this season.
— Houston’s inactive list includes two former Patriots: running back Rex Burkhead and wide receiver Danny Amendola. Both will not suit up against their old team.
The post Patriots Inactives Reaction: Pats Make Change At Running Back In Week 5 appeared first on NESN.com.