New England Patriots: With Kyle Van Noy out, it’s Josh Uche’s time to shine

Josh Uche #55 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Josh Uche #55 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots has been dealt a blow this afternoon, as it was announced starting linebacker Kyle Van Noy will miss the Patriots Week 2 contest against the New York Jets. Van Noy missed practice all week with a throat injury of all things, and apparently it was serious enough to keep him out of action for New England’s upcoming game.

Van Noy’s absence will surely be felt this week. Van Noy was one of the New England’s most impactful defenders in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins, picking up three tackles, a pass deflection, and one of the Patriots two sacks in the game. Van Noy was all over the place for a Patriots front seven unit that failed to impress everyone with their performance last week.

Missing Van Noy will make a bounce back performance for the unit a lot more difficult. Van Noy is one of the most experienced players in the Patriots defensive scheme, even after he spent the previous season with the Dolphins down in Miami. When one player goes down, it opens the door for another to step up and fill their shoes.

Josh Uche has a chance to step up big time for the New England Patriots

In this case, that next man up is second year linebacker Josh Uche. Uche spent most of training camp looking like a stud, and he seems on the cusp of having a breakout season for the New England Patriots. Uche didn’t do anything to dampen those hopes in the Patriots regular season opener, as he made the most of his limited snaps against the Dolphins, and picked up the second of New England’s two sacks in this one.

Uche now will most likely find himself starting in place of the injured Van Noy on Sunday against New York. After only seeing 15 snaps against the Dolphins in Week 1, Uche’s snap count is set to increase exponentially against the Jets.

It’s safe to say Uche has quite the opportunity in front of him this week. He was already looking to be deserving of more snaps due to his performance throughout training camp and the preseason, but he could really make some noise with a good performance in Week 2 against the Jets.

Uche’s forte is his pass rushing ability, and he could be set to feast this weekend. The Jets offensive line wasn’t expected to be very good coming into the season, and things only got worse when their starting left tackle Mekhi Becton suffered a knee injury in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers that will sideline him for the next 4-8 weeks. The Jets o-line allowed six sacks in that game, and things could get even worse if the Patriots pass rush shows up on Sunday.

Uche now will play a key part in determining whether or not New York’s rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson, will spend his day under duress. He did a good job at pressuring Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa last weekend when he found himself on the field. One only needs to watch his sack of Tagovailoa in that contest to see the potential problems he could cause for an opposing offensive line.

Uche will probably see more snaps against the run and in pass coverage this time around too. The Jets ground game was miserable against the Panthers last week, so it may be a good time to give Uche more responsibilities in the run game against a subpar running back room. If he’s given coverage responsibilities, it would probably come against running back Tevin Coleman or tight end Tyler Kroft, neither of whom looked that effective in Week 1.

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All in all, Uche has found himself with a great chance to make a huge impact for the New England Patriots with Van Noy out of action. If he can put together a good performance, the coaching staff will basically be forced into giving the budding star more snaps. Uche has been displaying his potential all summer long; now it’s time to see if he can translate it to a successful performance when the games actually count.