New England Patriots: 3 players that need to step up and play better

Outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Isaiah Wynn #76 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

No. 2: Isaiah Wynn

Due to the myriad of issues the Patriots have faced with their offensive line this season, not many people have given Isaiah Wynn’s struggles as much attention as they should have. After getting his fifth year option picked up last offseason, New England’s coaching staff was clearly hoping Wynn could take the next step forward by staying healthy and providing some solid blindside blocking for whoever was under center for the team. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened so far.

Wynn looked the part last season, as he graded out as one of the better left tackles in the game. Over 641 snaps, he only committed two penalties and allowed just three sacks. Yet through just 274 snaps this season, he’s already committed three penalties and allowed three sacks. Unless Wynn gets injured or benched, those totals are going to continue to increase as the season progresses.

Wynn was expected to be a stable piece of continuity on the Pats line, but he’s been arguably their worst piece. He returned from a one game absence due to COVID last week, but ended up getting benched after just nine snaps because of his struggles.

New England’s o-line has been in turmoil really since the start of the season due to Trent Brown’s calf injury, and things just haven’t gotten better since. When Brown returns, it may be worth throwing Wynn in at right tackle rather than left tackle due to how bad he’s been this season. He essentially got replaced by Justin Herron against Dallas, and Herron hasn’t exactly been good during his time filling in for Brown.

Given the lack of suitable options, the New England Patriots probably are going to have to hope Wynn can get things figured out sooner rather than later. Then again, the line did look a lot better when he wasn’t a part of it last weekend, so maybe head coach Bill Belichick goes back to the combination he had against Dallas. Either way, when Wynn finds himself on the field, he’s going to have to make the most of his opportunity in order for this team to be successful.