MIAMI GARDENS -- You don't have to be Bill Belichick to know that the Patriots actually have some things that'll need fixing following Sunday's 43-0 win over the Dolphins.
The kicker missed three times. The running game managed only 3.6 yards per attempt. The team committed five penalties.
But the thing that might demand the most attention this week is the thing that can't be fixed with more reps or more practice: The offensive line endured another injury.
Starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn suffered a foot injury on the first play of New England's second drive of the game. He did not return.
That meant that for the majority of the game the Patriots played with swing tackle Marshall Newhouse at left tackle and Korey Cunningham at right tackle. Newhouse started the game at right tackle in place of injured regular Marcus Cannon, who is dealing with a shoulder injury. For Cunningham, his 59 snaps at right tackle were the first of his career. He played only left tackle for the Cardinals last year as a rookie.
While the Patriots put up points, their tackle play was not perfect. Newhouse was charged by Pro Football Focus with allowing a sack and three pressures. He was also flagged for two penalties. Cunningham allowed two pressures of his own and was penalized once.
Neither Newhouse nor Cunningham could be blamed if they still didn't know their way around the Patriots facilities in Foxboro at this point. Cunningham was acquired in a trade with Arizona just over two weeks ago. Newhouse, meanwhile, was signed less than a week ago as a free agent on Sept. 11.
"It's very difficult," Newhouse said. "It's not easy. But I'm a professional. I've done this a lot of times. There's not much you can throw at me that I haven't seen before so I just kind of went with it."
If Wynn remains injured, the Patriots would likely go with the lineup they rolled out Sunday with Newhouse on the left side and Cunningham on the right. The Patriots might have Cannon back in the mix, though, as he worked out before the game to test his injured shoulder. If Cannon can play then the tackle combination would likely be Newhouse on the left side and Cannon on the right with Cunningham as the backup.
Wynn missed all of his rookie season with a torn Achilles. It's unclear how long his foot injury will limit him, but it slows down the momentum he'd built after a strong summer and a lock-down performance in Week 1. Against the Steelers, he allowed just one hurry in 70 snaps.
The Patriots are already dealing with a key loss to the interior of their line as David Andrews was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a blood clot issue. Ted Karras has allowed just two hurries in two games, per PFF, but the fact remains there's been shakeup to what was a very consistent unit during last year's run to Super Bowl LIII.
Trent Brown was the first loss, which came via free agency. Then Andrews. Then Wynn. Then Cannon. Now the starting lineup next week could be Newhouse, Joe Thuney (who was banged up a bit Sunday but stayed in the game), Karras, Shaq Mason and Cunningham. Dante Scarnecchia must be working overtime to get this crew up to speed.
"Yeah, it's a real challenge there," Bill Belichick said after Sunday's win. "Marshall and Korey really stepped up and that's what we have depth for. We had to use it today. It was a tough day out there but they battled through it."
Should the Patriots be without both Cannon and Wynn in Week 3, that'd push Jermaine Eluemunor into the game-day lineup. He was a healthy scratch Sunday but would at least provide some interior depth. Thuney might be the backup swing tackle.
So far the Patriots have escaped their offensive line situation unscathed and put up all kinds of points in the process. At some point, though, especially if Wynn misses any amount of time, one would have to assume that the injuries will catch up to them.
Maybe against the Jets in Week 3? We'll see. They have talent along their defensive line in Leonard Williams and Quinnen Williams.
Scarnecchia-coached groups are just about always ready for game action no matter the situation or opponent. But between the injuries and the new acquisitions thrust into key roles, he has his work cut out for him right now.
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