With the 2023-24 NFL season, the Patriots are still figuring out their starting lineup as Week 1 approaches. There are still some spots on the depth chart up for grabs, especially before the 53-man roster needs to be finalized on Aug. 29.
Just because a player has a starting job at the beginning of the season doesn’t mean he’ll still have one at the end of the year, though. A lot can change over the course of 18 weeks, as we saw last year when well-known players like Derek Carr, Matt Ryan and Marcus Mariota all got benched.
Bill Belichick has never been afraid to bench a player who isn’t performing or giving his best, even during the Super Bowl (hello, Malcolm Butler). We should expect more of the same this year, especially since the Patriots have little margin for error if they want to compete in a tough AFC East.
With that in mind, here are three Pats starters who may get benched this season.
3 Patriots Players Who Will Get Benched
1. Trent Brown
Brown’s had a pretty good career for an offensive lineman. In eight seasons so far, he’s already won a Super Bowl (with the 2018 Patriots) and made a Pro Bowl, so he’s pretty well-established.
Given his track record, Brown’s performance last year was somewhat disappointing. His underwhelming pass protection and run blocking at such a crucial position was a significant reason for New England’s offensive struggles in 2022. He also tailed off during the second half of the season, seeming to get fatigued in his first full campaign since 2018.
Now 30, Brown is at a critical point in his career. He still has a starting job heading into 2023, but he needs to prove that last season was a fluke if he wants to keep it. Otherwise, Belichick will have no problem giving a younger, cheaper player a shot.
If Brown starts showing his age or fades during the second half again, I can see Belichick being forced to bench him. Belichick makes personnel decisions based on what he sees on the field rather than a player’s track record or reputation, so Brown needs to step it up if he wants to start every week. If he doesn’t bounce back, the Patriots will go in another direction.