New England Patriots: Ryan Wendell Start Upon Return?


According to Doug Kyed of NESN, the New England Patriots had everybody on the roster participating in practice on Monday. That includes offensive lineman Ryan Wendell, who has missed the first three games of the season with an undisclosed illness.

The return of Wendell is great. Entering the season, an argument could have been made for him being the Patriots’ best interior offensive lineman. That being said, the team has received great play from the players who have replaced him and starting center Bryan Stork.

More from New England Patriots

Undrafted rookie David Andrews has been fantastic filling in for Stork at center, and should be a strong option for the team until Stork is able to return later in the season. At guard, the Patriots are using a brilliant rotation between fourth round rookies Tre’ Jackson and Shaq Mason, along with Josh Kline.

Jackson, Mason and Kline have all performed very well both in the run game and in protecting Tom Brady. The Patriots have done an incredible job of keeping them fresh, which has clearly helped each player perform to the best of their abilities.

Where do the Patriots go now that the veteran Wendell seems likely to return? It is certainly an interesting situation to keep an eye on. While he has had his issues in the past, Wendell is a solid veteran player who is likely better than all three of the Patriots’ younger options at the position at this moment in their careers.

That being said, if it is not broke, don’t fix it. The Patriots currently lead the NFL in points per game (39.7) and yards per game (446.3). While Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Sebastian Vollmer and the other more established players on the offense have certainly played their role in the success, Jackson, Mason and Kline have been great as well.

Would changing too much up front hurt the consistency of the Patriots’ offensive line enough to effect the offensive? Wendell is a proven veteran player, so probably not. However, he is not so great that the Patriots need to immediately play him a full game at one of the guard positions. For now, slowly playing Wendell into the mix at guard will be just fine.

The Patriots seem to have an embarrassment of riches on the interior offensive line. No matter how you look at it, that is a nice problem to have, especially for a position that was supposed to be an issue heading into the season.

Next: Patriots Should Trade LB Jerod Mayo

More from Chowder and Champions