Patriots

Cowboys coach predicts Patriots' Isaiah Wynn will 'be a good player for a long time'

Cowboys coach predicts Patriots' Isaiah Wynn will 'be a good player for a long time'

The New England Patriots haven't seen much of Isaiah Wynn on the football field because of injuries, but there's no doubting the left tackle's talent.

Wynn was one of two first-round draft picks made by the Patriots in 2018, but he missed all of his rookie season with a torn Achilles. He returned for the start of this season but suffered a toe injury in Week 2, landing him on injured reserve. Wynn returned to practice on Oct. 30 and was activated to New England's 53-man roster Tuesday.

All signs trend toward him starting Sunday's Week 12 game against the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett knows Wynn poses a challenge for his pass rush, and on Wednesday he predicted the University of Georgia product will be a solid player for many years.

Perry: Pats, Belichick ready for the unknown vs. Cowboys>>>

"Obviously, a really good player," Garrett said Wednesday during a media conference call. "Everybody liked him coming out of school, and they took him in the first round for a reason, because he’s a talented guy and you can see that when you watch his tape, both at the college level and then when you see the snaps he’s played in the NFL. He’s big, he’s athletic, he plays the game with a competitive spirit, and he’s a good player. He’s going to be a good player for a long time."

Wynn played 45 pass blocking snaps this season before exiting the Patriots' Week 2 game versus the Miami Dolphins due to injury. He allowed only one QB hit over that span. 

Marshall Newhouse has started at left tackle in place of Wynn, and he ranks as the 113th-best offensive lineman in the league, per Pro Football Focus' pass-blocking grading. So, it's safe to say the Patriots offensive line is about to get a whole lot better with Wynn anchoring one of the sport's most important positions.

Patriots' pass rush has been much improved in 2019>>>

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Could trick-shot kicker return to Patriots in 2020 after practice squad release?

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USA TODAY Sports

Could trick-shot kicker return to Patriots in 2020 after practice squad release?

FOXBORO -- The New England Patriots' rare instability at kicker has forced them to get creative.

The Patriots raised a few eyebrows Wednesday by signing Josh Gable -- a "YouTube star" with no college football kicking experience best known for his trick shot videos -- to their practice squad.

Gable's tenure in New England was short-lived, as the Patriots released him Friday.

So, why use a practice squad spot on a kicker only to cut him two days later?

"We had a spot available on the practice squad, and it gave us an opportunity to look at a younger kicker," head coach Bill Belichick said Friday.

" ... Rather than just (have him) come in and do a workout, we were actually able to (have him) kick with the team and put him on the practice squad for a couple days."

Belichick said the Patriots have no plans to move away from Nick Folk as their starting kicker this season. 

But getting Gable in for essentially a multi-day tryout allowed New England to explore a potential kicking option for 2020.

"We'll worry about that next year," Belichick said. " ... Put that in the bank, and maybe it comes up later on at some point in time down the road. Maybe it doesn’t. I’m not sure."

Such is the reality for the Patriots, who lost Stephen Gostkowski to season-ending hip surgery in October and have cycled through Mike Nugent, Kai Forbath, Folk and Younghoe Koo (practice squad) since.

Gostkowski turns 36 in January and is entering the final year of his contract, so Belichick has good reason to get a head start on contingency kicking options for 2020.

That's assuming New England doesn't stick with Folk: The veteran has been the most consistent of Gostkowski's replacements this season, connecting on eight of 11 field goals and making all four of his extra-point attempts.

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N'Keal Harry using big play vs. Chiefs as a reminder of his potential

N'Keal Harry using big play vs. Chiefs as a reminder of his potential

FOXBORO -- At the moment, N'Keal Harry will take positive reinforcement wherever he can get it.

The New England Patriots rookie had just one reception in last Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He made the most of it, though, breaking multiple tackles and diving for what should have been ruled a touchdown.

For 21-year-old rookie with just five catches on 10 targets through four NFL games, the play was a reminder to himself and the Patriots of what he's capable of in space with the ball in his hands.

"Yeah, definitely," Harry said Friday when asked if that play was a confidence boost for him. "It kind of felt like some of the stuff I did in college, just getting the ball in my hand and being able to run with it.

"So, that definitely helped. Just seeing that I'm able to do the same things (I did in college)."

Harry averaged 13.9 yards per catch as a sophomore and 14.9 yards per catch as a junior at Arizona State, earning First-Team All-Pac-12 honors in both seasons as a playmaking deep threat.

Harry's NFL transition has been bumpy to date, as an ankle injury caused him to miss New England's first nine games. But the Patriots still are well aware of his talent.

"I need to do a better job of finding ways to get him in space, get him the ball, and let him have an opportunity to (make plays)," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels admitted earlier this week.

The red zone seems like a natural place to get Harry more involved; the 6-foot-4, 225-pound wideout is a matchup nightmare for smaller cornerbacks and scored 17 touchdowns over his final two seasons.

Even after the Week 14 confidence booster, though, Harry will defer to McDaniels on how the Patriots want to increase his workload entering Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"That's more of a Josh question," Harry said when asked about his role in New England's red zone offense. "I'm just ready whenever my name is called."

" ... Whenever I get onto the field, whether it's 50 snaps or one snap, whenever my name is called, I have to be able to contribute."

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