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, Mass. (AP) — With time growing short before their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots suddenly have an unexpected hole in the middle of their offensive line following the weekend hospitalization of starting center David Andrews because of blood clots in his lung.Andrews, 27, was released from the hospital Monday night, according to the Boston Globe. He was at practice Tuesday, standing on the sidelines in street clothes and chatting with teammates, but did not participate.“It was great to see him, definitely,” starting right tackle Shaq Mason said. “But we’ve got tremendous confidence in any guy that steps on the field because we’ve gone through situations like this before.”The team has not released a statement on Andrews’ situation Andre Tippett Jerseys 2019
, nor has it confirmed his medical condition. Andrews’ hospitalization was first reported by The Athletic, hours after Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s news conference Monday.Belichick was not made available to the media on Tuesday.Andrews, a fifth-year veteran who joined the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Georgia, has started 57 of the 60 games he has played. After seeing limited action in 2015, he beat out starter Bryan Stork to start the 2016 season and was named a team captain in 2017 and 2018.Andrews missed the first few days of practice in training camp this year because of an undisclosed injury, but he gradually increased his participation before playing 28 snaps at center in the Patriots’ preseason game against Carolina last Thursday.The Patriots already are dealing with attrition along the offensive line. Second-year veteran Isaiah Wynn is likely to replace Trent Brown, who left in free agency, at left tackle. Otherwise, an experienced unit composed of Joe Thuney White John Hannah Jerseys
, Andrews, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon was seen as a positive in the effort to protect 42-year-old quarterback Tom Brady.The most likely candidates to replace Andrews for an extended period of time are a pair of fourth-year veterans, Ted Karras and James Ferentz. Karras has played in 45 games with five starts and Ferentz in 23 games with no starts.“Those are going to be coaching decisions,” said Karras, whose great-uncle was former Detroit Lions great Alex Karras. “I’m just going to come in here tomorrow and work my hardest and try to do anything I can to help the team.”Karras said he spoke with Andrews during his visit to practice.“Obviously, he’s a big part of the team,” Karras said. “He’s been a leader for us for a long time now. Just having him around is a big plus for our unit and our team.”The Patriots close the preseason at home Thursday against the New York Giants.“We got what we got,” Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia said Monday. “The cavalry, they’re not coming over the hill. But we have good players. I like the guys we got.” While the New England Patriots’ offense turned the corner after a rocky start John Hannah Jerseys 2019
, the team’s defense still remains inconsistent. Luckily for the unit it will face a very favorable matchup tonight: the Buffalo Bills, owners of the NFL’s worst scoring offense. With the Bills averaging just 11.6 points per game this year, the Patriots defense should – should – be able to build some momentum today.In order to do that, here are three key things it needs to accomplish:Use the blitz against Derek AndersonFirst things first: the Patriots defense has not been very good in 2018 when it comes to blitzing opposing quarterbacks. In fact, the team has the worst sack percentage in the NFL when bringing extra pressure (2.8%). So why should New England use this tactic against Buffalo tonight? Because the Bills have been equally bad if not worse in terms of blitz pickup and Derek Anderson is not the best of decision makers the quarterback position has to offer.Sending extra rushers against a shaky offensive line – one that allowed a league-worst 10 sacks versus the blitz – and an inconsistent quarterback could help mask some of New England’s weaknesses when it comes to creating pressure. And even if it does not create negative plays at an increase rate, it should help impact Buffalo’s defensive rhythm and challenge the protection setting and extra blockers kept in the pocket.Take away the run with the big bodies up frontOne thing the Bills do comparatively well is run the football: led by LeSean McCoy, who is expected to play despite suffering a concussion during last week’s game, and Chris Ivory, the team has created a fairly balanced offensive attack. For New England to have success against it White Irving Fryar Jerseys
, taking away the ground game should be a key goal – and to do that, the right personnel has to be on the field.Ideally, the Patriots try to get their best run defenders on the field in a base alignment that could use a 5-2 front: Trey Flowers and Lawrence Guy, arguably the team’s best run defenders, should be part of it as should be Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton with Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy rotating on the fifth end spot. Elandon Roberts should see plenty of time as an off-the-ball linebacker.A group like this would allow the Patriots to establish a presence along the interior with the big-bodied defensive tackles, and also ensure outside contain with the experienced and technically sound edge defenders. As the desired result, the Bills would be forced to give Anderson more responsibilities.Stay disciplined New England usually wins in part due to being the smarter team, one not shooting itself in the foot through easily avoidable mistakes or stupid penalties. So far this season, however Irving Fryar Jerseys 2019
, this has not always been the case. Just take last week’s game against Chicago when the Patriots gave up big plays to a scrambling quarterback because they were undisciplined in keeping contain, and also committed multiple defensive penalties.Tonight, limiting those errors would go a long way to securing the Patriots’ sixth victory of the season. If the team can stay disciplined when it comes to gap integrity, edge setting, and deep-field coverage it should be able to limit an offense that has so far been reliant on occasional breaks to get going.