New England Patriots: Chase Winovich now the man in Hightower’s absense

New England Patriots Chase Winovich (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
New England Patriots Chase Winovich (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Chase Winovich is now the top man to fill the linebacker void created by Dont’a Hightower’s absence at outside linebacker for the New England Patriots.

With the decision by Dont’a Hightower to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season for health-related reasons, it is now incumbent upon Chase Winovich to assume a leadership role in the New England Patriots linebacker squad in 2020.

Winovich is the man.

Besides being one of this writer’s favorite Patriots’ draft picks of all time, the young man can just flat-out play. Winovich had a very solid 2019 campaign, logging 5.5 sacks and displaying every bit the ability of a third-round draft pick for New England. He was excellent. Indeed.

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In 2020, Winovich will be called upon to deliver more, much much more for the Patriots. And here’s saying that he will do just that. Winovich is a ten-sack edge player waiting to happen. The addition of his former Michigan Wolverine comrade Josh Uche will only add to his effectiveness. Both of these young men can play. Really play. The question is, who will play where for the Patriots edge players.

John Simon will likely man the right edge for New England on the defensive line. That is also where Chase Winovich played many of his snaps in college. Simon is “Rob Nincovich-like” and Winovich is a pit-bull on every down. Assuming that Simon starts on the right, Winovich will likely be called upon to start at strongside linebacker in Hightower’s position. He won’t have much difficulty doing so. He has the talent, the drive, and the will-to-be-great.

Winovich reminds one of the amazing Tedy Bruschi. Not that he plays the same position (Tedy was more of an inside linebacker), but with his drive, determination, and dedication to making things happen on defense. He’s a star in the making. Ten sacks are not out of the realm of possibility for Winovich if he’s given the snaps. And the situation at linebacker will provide him with those snaps.

Rookie Josh Uche will also be called upon at least initially to be a situational pass rusher. Uche has Dwight Freeney-like potential. Like Freeney, he’s a smaller pass-rusher yet he can really bring the heat.

Anyone who saw his performance from the left edge in the Senior Bowl can attest to his ability to get after the quarterback. Uche’s speed is his greatest asset. He was outstanding working against top college talent. Dominant.

One of Simon or Winovich will probably act as a down end on the side from which Uche will rush on passing downs. Unless of course, the Patriots use their highly-effective “amoeba defense” wherein all three could be stand-up linebackers.

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These edge players led by Chase Winovich will certainly give New England a different look for 2020. The pass-rush potential is awesome. And opposing offensive coordinators had better take note.

It will be interesting to see if these edge players can complement theNew England  Patriots great defensive backfield with a high-octane pass rush. If so, expect the Patriots’ defense to deliver big-time this season.